Script: Label Sketch
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about how FSIS is working to ensure public health protection
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that your meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe,
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Hello and welcome! This is Jeff White WITH the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. Today’s topic is the product label sketch,
which is a listing of important information about meat, poultry
and processed egg products. A product label sketch is basically a
printer’s proof, a picture, or the equivalent that clearly shows
all the labeling features of a product.
With me today is Mark Reo who will give us a broader view of label
Mark, what do meat and poultry plant owners and operators need to
know when submitting a label sketch to FSIS?
All meat, poultry and processed egg products produced at federal
establishments require prepared labels. A label sketch is
submitted to FSIS for review and approval. As you mentioned
earlier a label sketch is basically a printer’s proof or the
equivalent that shows all the labeling features of the product.
What are some of the features that have to be included on a label
Well, there are actually eight features, which are:
- The product name;
- USDA inspection legend;
- Net weight;
- Handling statement;
- Manufacturer’s or distributor’s address;
- Ingredients statement;
- Nutritional facts; and
- Safe handling instructions
Okay, let’s take a look at each of these essential features.
It’s important to make sure that all of the information appearing
on the label sketch is accurate and not misleading in any way. The
product name has to be clearly stated on the label sketch. (For
example, beef hotdogs, chili with beans, chicken noodle soup.)
The second essential feature is the USDA inspection legend. The
plant must make sure the correct legend and plant number are
listed on the label for the product being produced.
That brings us to net weight. What can you tell us about that?
Net weight is another feature that must be included on a label for
retail products. Plants must make sure that the net weight is
accurate and in the correct size, spacing and location on the
The handling statement is an important part of the label.
The handling statement, such as “keep refrigerated” or “keep
frozen,” has to be listed. The handling statement is important to
ensure that the product will be handled properly by the consumer
I’ve noticed on labels that the company address is listed. Why is
The address or signature line is required and has to include the
company name, city, state and zip code of the producing company or
distributing company. Consumers may use this information to
contact a company or distributor concerning their product.
Next is the ingredients statement which is a very important
part of the label.
Yes, ingredients statements are important and must accurately list
each ingredient by its common or usual name and in the correct
descending order of predominance. Careful attention is needed for
products that contain ingredients that themselves are made up of
multiple ingredients to ensure they are sub-listed correctly. For
example, soy sauce contains water, soybeans, wheat, and salt.
Consumers should look at the ingredient statement to see if the
product contains any allergens, or other ingredients that they
wish to avoid.
Nutritional facts and safe handling statements are the last two
features that must appear on a label sketch.
Yes, that’s correct. Nutrition facts also are included on most
products sold directly to a consumer. The nutritional facts list
information such as serving size, servings per container,
calories, fat and other vitamins and minerals. There are some
exemptions from listing the nutrition facts, for example products
that are not for sale directly to consumers.
And finally, the safe handling instructions.
Safe handling instructions are also important and must be present
on the label sketch if the meat, poultry or process egg product is
not fully cooked. This way, a consumer will know that the product
needs to be fully cooked before consuming it.
Now that you’ve covered the eight features that need to be on a
label sketch, tell us how a company can submit their label sketch
A company would complete
FSIS form 7234-1, attach the label sketch to the form and send
it to FSIS for evaluation and approval. Part of FSIS form 7234-1
requirements also include product formulation, processing
procedures and other information to support the required labeling
features or voluntary claims appearing on the label.
Do all labels need to be submitted to FSIS as sketches?
No. There are several types of labels that can actually be
generically approved and don’t need to be submitted for approval.
Where can someone find more information on preparing a label
sketch for FSIS approval and generic labeling?
The FSIS Web site www.fsis.usda.gov has information on
including preparing a label sketch and FSIS form 7234-1 as well as
information on generic approvals. And, listeners can
also call 202-205-0279 for information and assistance.
Thank you, Mark, for being here and for presenting the eight
features of the label sketch. And, thanks to you for joining
Well, that’s all for this episode. We’d like your feedback
on our podcast. Or if you have ideas for future podcasts, send
us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about food
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Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified: April 29, 2008