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FSIS Proposes to Eliminate Dual Declaration Labelling Requirement for Certain Packages

In response to a petition regarding certain labelling regulations for packages of meat or poultry products, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations to remove provisions that require labelling the net weight or net contents in two different units of measurement on the product label. Currently, packages that contain at least one pound or one pint but less than four pounds or one gallon are subject to a requirement to show dual declaration of weight or content using more than one unit of measurement to convey the accurate weight or amount of the product to consumers.

Typically, products subject to dual declaration by weight express the net weight in ounces and immediately thereafter in parentheses in pounds, with any remainder in terms of ounces or common or decimal fraction of the pound (e.g., “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1 lb. 8 oz.)”, “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1.5 lbs.)” or “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1 ½ lb.)”). For liquid measure, dual declaration is expressed as the net content in fluid ounces and immediately thereafter in parentheses the largest whole U.S. customary unit (e.g., pints or quarts, with any remainder expressed in terms of fluid ounces or common or decimal fraction of the pint or quart (e.g., “Net contents 32 FL OZ (1 QT)” or “Net contents 30 FL OZ (1 pint 14 FL OZ)”). Packages of products that contain less than one pound or pint or that contain four pounds or one gallon or more are not subject to the dual declaration requirement and may express the product’s net weight or net content as a single, accurate statement.

Interestingly, data analysis performed by FSIS found that firms often incorrectly interpreted the dual declaration weight and content requirements as needing to provide both the avoirdupois measure (ounces or pounds) and the metric measure (grams or kilogrammes) in the net weight or content statement. In fact, no metric information is required for these products. FSIS will be accepting comments on this proposal through 17 June, after which the dual declaration requirement may be waived. Firms would be able to continue to label with dual weights if preferred but would no longer be required to do so if this proposal is adopted.

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