Congressional and Public Affairs
Catherine Cochran (202) 690-0428
New, web-based Label Submission Approval System will
offer an alternative means to paper application
submission, making label review process faster, cheaper,
and more accurate
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 - The U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today
launched a new web-based label approval system that will streamline
the agency’s review process for meat, poultry, and egg product
labels. The Label Submission Approval System (LSAS) will make it
possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications
electronically, will flag application submission errors that could
delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the
progress of their submission.
“This new system will expedite and simplify the review process for
meat, poultry and egg product labels,” Under Secretary for Food
Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said. “Reducing the review times for
labels will enhance the agency’s ability to ensure that accurate
information is applied to product labels and reaches consumers
FSIS reviews labels on the products it regulates to ensure they are
truthful and not misleading. LSAS will reduce the time and costs
incurred by both the industry and the agency. Until the launch of
LSAS, companies mailed or hand delivered paper applications to FSIS,
and FSIS reviewed and corrected them before returning them in hard
copy. The agency receives 150 to 200 label submissions daily, and it
can take more than three weeks for a label to be reviewed. The
web-based system will make approved or corrected labels immediately
available to companies, saving time and mailing costs. The system
also will allow companies to store labels and make changes
electronically, removing the need to print and re-submit modified
labels for review to FSIS each time a change is made.
Label submissions are reviewed on a first come, first served basis,
and the agency will continue to review labels in the same manner
using LSAS. If a company chooses to use LSAS to submit a label for
approval, during the submission process, the system will notify the
company if an application is incomplete through an error message.
The system assigns each label a tracking number so the progress of
its review can be tracked online. The system also includes an option
to first see if the label qualifies for a generic approval before
proceeding with a submission (generic approval means the label does
not have to be submitted to FSIS for review prior to use).
More information about LSAS, including instructions on accessing the
system using Level 2 USDA e-authentication, a user’s guide, agency
contact information, and frequently asked questions is available on
FSIS’ website at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&
FSIS strongly encourages companies to consult the LSAS User’s Guide
before attempting to submit their first label(s) through the new
system. Webinars about LSAS will be scheduled and announced in
The LSAS is another result of an on-going USDA review of existing
program rules to determine whether any should be modified,
streamlined, clarified, or repealed to improve access to USDA
programs. With the intent to minimize burdens on individuals,
businesses and communities attempting to access programs, the review
was directed by President Obama in Executive Order 13563, which he
signed January 18, 2011.
In the past two years, FSIS has announced several measures to
safeguard the food supply, prevent foodborne illness, and improve
consumers' knowledge about the food they eat. These initiatives
support the three core principles developed by the President’s Food
Safety Working Group: prioritizing prevention; strengthening
surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery.
Some of these actions include:
- Zero tolerance policy for six Shiga toxin-producing E. coli
(STEC) serogroups. Raw ground beef, its components, and
tenderized steaks found to contain E. coli O26, O103, O45, O111,
O121 or O145 will be prohibited from sale to consumers. USDA
will launch a testing program to detect these dangerous
pathogens and prevent them from reaching consumers.
- Test and hold policy that will significantly reduce consumer
exposure to unsafe meat products, should the policy become
final, because products cannot be released into commerce until
Agency test results for dangerous contaminants are known.
- Labeling requirements that provide better information to
consumers about their food by requiring nutrition information
for single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products and ground
or chopped products.
- Public Health Information System, a modernized,
comprehensive database about public health trends and food
safety violations at the nearly 6,100 plants FSIS regulates.