WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service will hold a public meeting to discuss a petition to establish a definition for the voluntary claim "natural" and to gather comments on conditions under which the claim should be allowed to be used on the labels of meat and poultry products.

The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the south end of the USDA cafeteria, South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Ave, SW., Washington, D.C. Pre-registration for the meeting is recommended. To pre-register, please go to FSIS' Event Web site. The petition is available for viewing on FSIS' Web site.

FSIS is the public health regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome and accurately labeled. FSIS develops and implements policies to ensure that meat, poultry and egg product labeling is truthful and non-misleading.

Comments on this notice are welcome and may be submitted either through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or electronically to FSIS.RegulationsComments@usda.gov.

For details pertaining to the public meeting, contact Dr. Robert C. Post, director, FSIS Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff, Office of Policy Program and Employee Development, at (202) 205-0279. Persons unable to pre-register on-line or requiring a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations for the public meeting should contact Diane Jones at (202) 720-9692 or by e-mail to diane.jones@fsis.usda.gov.

AMS to look at "naturally raised" term for livestock

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is considering the development of a voluntary standard to address production practices associated with the term "naturally raised" for livestock.

Three listening sessions will be held, the first being at 1 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Jefferson Auditorium of the South Agriculture building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington D.C. For more information on the Listening Session, please visit the AMS Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/ or contact Martin E. O'Connor, Chief, Standards, Analysis, and Technology Branch, AMS Livestock and Seed Program, on (202) 720-4486 or by e-mail at: martin.oconnor@usda.gov.

SOURCE: USDA news release.