Congressional Delegation Comments on Pending Petition Regarding “Free Range” and “Pasture-Raised” Claims
Friday, February 9, 2024
  • Five members of Congress have commented on a petition filed by Perdue Farms that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The petition requests that FSIS conduct rule-making to define separate “free range” and “pasture-raised” claims for meat and poultry products. The petition also requests that FSIS update its guidance on claims related to living and raising conditions to ensure that the claims align with consumer expectations. 
  • In their statement to FSIS, the congressmen requested the following: “As USDA evaluates the petition and considers policy changes, we ask that the Department establish a robust stakeholder input process to ensure no unintended consequences. Changing the requirements for individual marketing claims will have both upstream and downstream economic impacts on production practices, retail opportunities, and input requirements.”
  • The congressmen (Rep. Mark Alford, R-MO; Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-TX; Rep. Jason Smith, R-MO; Rep. Eric A “Rick” Crawford, R-AR; and Rep. James R. Baird, R-IN) added that any changes in claim requirements must be considered in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as changes could impact FDA-regulated products as well (e.g., dairy and shell eggs). The delegation also recommends an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to facilitate complete engagement from stakeholders throughout the affected industries.
  • The petition is currently pending in the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development for review. Keller and Heckman will continue to monitor and relay developments regarding the petition.

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