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The United States Department of Agriculture will require the Nutrition Facts label, familiar to purchasers of packaged food, on 40 common cuts of meat and poultry, beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The rule is being phased in slowly to give processors a chance to re-make labels.
The labels will have to contain the number of calories and grams of fat. For cuts that are currently labeled with the lean percentage, the fat percentage will also have to be on the label. Labels will have to go on the final package, instead of voluntarily on a poster on the wall at the point of sale.
Some of this makes sense; most people haven't any idea how many calories are in an ounce of 80 percent lean hamburger meat, and there's really no such thing as wasted information. Still, it's an indictment of the U.S. education system that they'll have to list the fat percentage on labels that already contain the lean percentage. If the ground beef is 80 percent lean, is it so hard to figure out what percentage fat it is?
A prediction: People will be surprised and angry to find out that a 4-ounce chicken breast that is labeled as containing 130 calories blooms to 400-plus calories once they're done cooking it with oil, sauce, cheese, etc.