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PETA Petitioning USDA-FSIS Over Welfare Labeling


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has submitted a petition to USDA requesting that the Food Safety and Inspection Service establish rules that would eliminate welfare and housing claims in the approval of labels.


PETA maintains that since FSIS jurisdiction is limited to processing and packing under the Federal Meat Inspection Act for red meat and the Poultry Products Inspection Act for avian species respectively, the Agency is not in a position to substantiate label claims relating to preharvest production. The petition requested an amendment to 9 CFR 412.1 to eliminate the review and approval of welfare claims on labels. In their petition PETA specifically cited the somewhat vague claims expressed as “humanely raised”, and “raised with care” that may be misleading to consumers.


Obviously PETA cannot prevent producers using seals and logos awarded by animal welfare organizations following an audit of facilities, flocks, and herds for compliance with clearly defined standards. According to a commentary by the law firm Keller and Heckman LP the current situation may give rise to spurious class action lawsuits.  Caveat venditor!