The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) petition on behalf of Perdue Farms LLC filed March 16, 2023, has gained many comments.

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 allegations related to living/raising conditions to ensure that the claims align with consumer expectations.

During the past year, Perdue’s petition, however, received almost entirely favorable comments from the Cornucopia Institute, Joe’s Farm, the American Grassfed Association, Farm Forward, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, Compassion in World Farming USA, and the United Egg Association.

In addition,  comments were filed by Walden Local, Primal Pastures, Leaping Bear Farms, U.S. Congress, Organic Valley, the Food Industry Association, and Vital and Wormuth Farms.

A Greener World  says, “please accept the following comments in response to the petition submitted by Perdue Farms, LLC (Petition 23-03), which requests that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) conduct rule-making  to define separate” “free range” and” “pasture-raised” claims for meat and poultry products and that FSIS update its guidance on claims related to living/raising conditions to ensure the claims align with consumer expectations.”

In addition, it makes the following points:

“With respect to this petition, A Greener World requests FSIS to respond by issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule-making (ANPR), enabling input from the broad set of stakeholders potentially impacted by changes to these claims. standards and certification procedures address pasture-based management holistically through a comprehensive assessment of management practices, including feed and water quality, physical alterations, breed suitability to pasture-based management, handling, socialization, and responsible use of medical treatments.”

“We contend that any ‘pasture-raised’ claims about meat and poultry products should be clearly defined and verified by third-party audit and certification to ensure transparency and consistency. In any case, as globally recognized certifications that require pasture-based management, Certified Animal Welfare.”

Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified Regenerative by AGW, and Certified Non-GMO by AGW should all be valid documentation for a “pasture-raised” claim.

“It is widely acknowledged that ‘free range’ is not synonymous with — and cannot be considered equal to — ‘pasture-raised.’ As such, further clarity is urgently required for both claims. We, therefore, support efforts by the USDA to pursue that clarity in a way that meets consumer expectations and upholds transparency and high animal welfare, conducted in an open and deliberate process with robust public engagement and stakeholder consultation. In the context of increasing public concern about the impact of their food choices on the environment and animal welfare, concerted efforts to ensure meaningful definitions for valuable label claims will not only prevent consumer confusion from misleading claims but also protect farmers by having a common and transparent meaning.”

A Greener World asks that its comments be accepted “on behalf of the thousands of exceptional farmers and conscientious consumers with whom we work.”

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