Under current law, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has authority over meat and poultry products, while all other products are regulated by the FDA.
However, market changes have in some cases led to inconsistent regulation of certain products containing meat and poultry ingredients as a result of confusion regarding the classification of product categories. For example, FSIS regulates corn dogs, while FDA regulates bagel dogs.
The USDA and FDA, that have recommended a defined, uniform approach regarding the regulation of these products, will be holding a public meeting on December 15 to discuss the proposed changes.
"Food products that primarily contain meat and poultry ingredients, such as bagel dogs, meat and poultry-based sandwiches, and natural casings, are recommended to be regulated by the FSIS," said the FDA in a statement.
"Those food products that contain meat or poultry as ingredients for the purpose of accentuating flavor only and do not contribute to the identity of the food product, such as pizza, are recommended to be under the FDA's jurisdiction," it concluded.
The FSIS and the FDA said they are holding the meeting next month to invite public comment on the recommended approach and to help determine the possible costs of the changes, such as administrative, operational, marketing or labeling costs.
The announcement comes soon after another move to standardize food regulation. The National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005, introduced last month, aims to create a uniform system for all food safety standards and warning labels on FDA-regulated products.
Designed to provide consumers with consistent food safety information, if voted on this act would mean that food manufacturers would no longer have to label their products differently in accordance with the regulations set out by individual states.
Food products that fall under the regulation of the USDA already have national uniform labeling standards. However, with FDA-regulated products, food regulation is currently composed of a variety of different, and sometimes inconsistent requirements.