Label terms and certifications can be divided into those that are regulated and those that are unregulated. Regulated label terms and certifications are usually defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Within the USDA, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the agency responsible for the truthful labeling of meat and poultry products. The use of labels and certifications is governed by law and violations of use can have legal consequences. Unregulated terms have generally accepted definitions but do not have legal ramifications or verification of adherence. Many common label claims, such as “humanely raised” or “sustainably farmed,” refer to the process used to farm livestock but are unregulated, and there are no legal definitions for these claims. This publication summarizes some common regulated and unregulated terms in agriculture and livestock production.


Status and Revision History
Published on May 08, 2018

Faculty
Amanda Tedrow Program Development Coordinator, Northeast District Julia W. Gaskin Sr. Public Service Associate - Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, Crop & Soil Sciences
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