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New Nutrition Labels On Meat

March 19, 2012, 6:10 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

New Nutrition Labels On Meat

Nutrition labels come on everything from soda pop to bread.  Now they're at the meat counter.

Most ground meat, along with popular cuts of meat and poultry, must have nutrition information.

Protein, including meat, plays a big role in many of our diets, particularly in South Dakota.

"You make spaghetti, tacos; just basically anything.  Chili, you know," shopper Tara McGillivary said.

But nutrition information about meat hasn't been as easily accessible as some other foods. That is until this month. Now because of a new USDA rule, signs in grocery stores on ground meat that show percentage of lean meat must also show the percentage of fat.

"It's very important to be able to distinguish where those lean items are and clearly labeling the fat versus the lean percentage on those items will make them easier to find," Hyvee Registered Dietitian Jennifer Colgan said.

Along with fat percentage, 40 popular cuts of meat, including pork loin, must also now contain nutrition information.

"In terms of having too much fat or saturated fat in the diet, it can be very harmful for heart health. When we talk about a heart healthy diet or a healthy, balanced diet in general, we're talking about limiting the amount of saturated fat" Colgan said.

Some cuts of meat already had nutrition information posted at local stores, but now all stores, aside from small businesses that grind meat, will have to follow suit.  Shoppers say it is a good move that they hope will transition into better health.

"It helps with my decision making on that. I try to go with less fat," shopper Bernard Bickett said.

The new rule is expected to add less than a half penny a pound to the cost of meat and poultry products.

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