Nutritional information labeling required for red meat and poultry

Major cuts of red meat and poultry need to have nutritional information on the label or available as point of sale information.

Do you sell individual cuts or bundles of retail cuts of meat or poultry from your farm or at farmers markets? Certain single-ingredient cuts of raw meat and poultry products or ground and chopped meat are required to have nutritional information on the package or at the point of purchase. This requirement by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) was put into effect on March 1, 2012 through Notice 15-12. This is in addition to existing labeling requirements for meat and poultry.  

The required nutritional information can be in the form of signs, posters, or pamphlets available as point of purchase materials. The point of purchase materials cannot have marketing claims or other nutritional claims on them. If point of purchase materials are not supplied, then nutritional information must be on the label in the form of Nutrition Facts. Nutrition Facts is a specific label format that uses a standard serving measurement and lists the amount of calories and specific nutrients provided by the food.

This requirement affects raw meat and poultry sold at retail. Major cuts for each species as listed in the Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations 317.344 and 381.444 are listed below and are required to have this information either on the package, displayed on a poster that is visible, or available as point of purchase materials.

Major single-ingredient meat cuts required to have nutritional information
Species Major Cut Species Major Cut
Beef Chuck blade roast Pork Loin chop
Beef Loin top loin steak Pork Loin coungry
Beef Rib roast large end Pork Loin top loin chop boneless
Beef Round eye steak Pork Loin rib chop
Beef Round top round steak Pork Spareribs
Beef Round tip roast Pork Tenderloin
Beef Loin sirloin steak Pork Shoulder blade steak
Beef Round bottom round steak Pork Loin top roast boneless
Beef Brisket (whole, flat half, or point half) Pork Sirloin roast
Beef Rib steak small end    
Beef Loin tenderloin steak Poultry Whole chicken (without neck and giblets)
Beef Chuck arm pot roast Poultry Chicken breast
    Poultry Chicken wing
Lamb Shank Poultry Chicken drumstick
Lamb Shoulder arm chop Poultry Chicken thigh
Lamb Shoulder blade chop Poultry Whole turkey (without neck and  giblets)*
Lamb Rib roast Poultry Turkey breast
Lamb Loin chop Poultry Turkey wing
Lamb Leg (whole, sirloin half, or shank half) Poultry Turkey drumstick
    Poultry Turkey thigh
Veal Shoulder arm steak    
Veal Shoulder blade steak    
Veal Rib roast    
Veal Loin chop    
Veal Cutlets    

*Separate nutrient panels for white and dark meat permitted as an option

In addition to major whole muscle cuts of meat and poultry, raw, ground or chopped meat, with or without seasonings are all required to have nutritional information on the label. If the product does not meet criteria to be labeled "low fat" the package can display the lean and fat percentages, but the percentages of lean and fat are not required. There are some exemptions for labeling ground and chopped meat with nutritional information:

  1. Small businesses, defined as a plant that processes less than 100,000 pounds of the product annually and has a single facility or has fewer than 500 employees at multiple facilities
  2. If the grinding or chopping is done at the request of the customer where the meat is prepared, served, or sold at retail
  3. If it is done by a small business that uses statements of the percentage of lean and fat (ex. 90% lean/10% fat); and products that have packages containing less than 12 square inches of surface area for labeling

Additional exemptions from the requirement include major cuts of single-ingredient raw meat and poultry or ground and chopped meat and poultry include:

  1. From custom slaughtered animals
  2. If the product is sold to hotels, restaurants, and institutions
  3. Products intended for further processing
  4. Products sold in individual packages of less than one half ounce net weight
  5. Products intended for export

The product that is exempt from labeling must not have any additional nutrition claims (ex. “good source of protein,” “no trans fat,” etc.).

Resources are available, most at no cost, to create the Nutrition Facts label or nutrition information for the point of purchase materials. The resources are available online and have information available for all of the cuts from each species. The USDA National Nutrient Database provides the information free that one can use to create Nutrition Facts or point of sale material. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s nutrient database allows one to choose the cuts and will create Nutrition Facts for labels or various size posters in PDF format that can be self-printed as needed for point of purchase display or handout at no cost. The Food Marketing Institute has posters available for download both free and for a fee depending on the resolution and includes options of adding a company logo. The nutritional information must include values for raw product but nutritional information for cooked product can voluntarily be added to the label or point of purchase information.

Producers who wish to hire someone to create the labels for them may contact the Michigan State University Product Center which offers a fee based service for developing the labels. Additional questions can be searched at or submitted to askFSIS.

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