The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has 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,” said Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety. “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 quickly.”
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 150–200 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, and removing the need to print and re-submit modified labels for review to FSIS each time a change is made.
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on-going USDA review of existing program rules to determine whether any should be modified, streamlined, clarified, or repealed to improve access to USDA programs.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 Barack Obama in Executive Order 13563, which he signed Jan. 18, 2011.