USDA-FSIS has announced it will begin an exploratory sampling program at certain beef slaughter establishments on cattle that will be used for products labeled with “raised without antibiotics” (RWA) claims.
Under FSIS Notice 07-23 (FSIS Sampling for Labeling Claims Verification), the agency samples ground beef labeled with a negative claim for hormone use and nutritional labeling requirements when the consumer-ready packaging bears a nutrition facts panel. No other beef products are included under than notice.
This new exploratory program will allow FSIS to determine if cattle intended for RWA products carry any antibiotics residues at the slaughter facilities. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will analyze the samples in collaboration with FSIS on this study.
Results will not result in regulatory control actions, the agency says. They will be reported to the Office of Public Health Science and Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD), which will review them against labeling requirements. OPPD will issue a letter to the establishment only if there is a discrepancy between the test and labeling claim.
Ultimately, FSIS may consider establishing a permanent sampling and testing program for this product and may consider initiating rulemaking, pending the results found.