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NFPA SEEKS MORE TIME TO LABEL MEAT AND POULTRY, GIVES COST DATA

 NFPA SEEKS MORE TIME TO LABEL MEAT AND POULTRY, GIVES COST DATA
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The food industry today informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the cost of new nutrition labeling of meat and poultry products will be far greater than first estimated and that industry will need more time to comply.
 The National Food Processors Association told USDA that the agency needs to refine its initial economic impact assessment in order to get a true picture of what the label changeover will cost in time and money. Meanwhile, NFPA is carrying out its own research to learn how much the label change will cost its 500 members, including many meat and poultry processors.
 "It is important that we get a handle on these costs, because it will reflect how long it will take to make the changes, tell us how hard it will hit small businesses, and the effect of USDA's policy requiring that it approve labels before they are used," said NFPA President John R. Cady.
 NFPA said that meat and poultry processors clearly will need more time to implement new labeling than the deadline set by Congress for relabeling products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
 "USDA should not blindly follow FDA's lead in setting a deadline for new labels, but should base its decision purely on the findings of its economic impact assessment," Cady said. He added that USDA's "prior label approval" policy means that to label USDA-regulated products requires half again as much time as for those regulated by FDA.
 NFPA said that preliminary information from meat and poultry processors indicates that it will require from six months to two years to do all label design changes, before seeking USDA's prior approval of them. The changes will require extensive pre-press work by label and package printers, including creation of artwork, stripping, color separations, and film preparation.
 "A limited number of label and package printers regularly service the food processing industry, and we have received some reports that it will take about two years for these companies to fulfill all the label and package printing orders expected as a result of FDA and USDA nutrition labeling rules," Cady said.
 Cady said NFPA will file more extensive comments with USDA once its own economic impact study is complete, as well as comments with FDA regarding products that agency regulates.
 NFPA is the scientific voice of the food processing industry. The association's three research laboratories serve NFPA's 500 members who manufacture processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, juices and drinks, and specialty products.
 -0- 1/10/92
 /CONTACT: Roger Coleman of the National Food Processors Association, 202-639-5935/ CO: National Food Processors Association ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DC-SB -- DC020 -- 8820 01/10/92 17:51 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1992
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