NE3 Marketing Program

November 13, 2015

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program's Quality Assessment Division (QAD) provides verification services to the meat, poultry, and egg industries. One of these services includes the service entitled "GVD 1006 Procedure titled Never Ever 3 (NE3)." The NE3 program was developed in 2009 as a bundled marketing claim and associated verification program to address a market need for livestock whose products would qualify for marketing claims of: 1. No Antibiotics administered; 2. No Hormones administered; and 3. No Animal By-products fed at any point in the animal's life.

AMS continually reviews the services it provides. During the course of this review, AMS has determined that certain services do not fit with the Agency's authorities under its statutory mandate to facilitate the marketing of U.S. agricultural products. One such issue that has arisen is the Agency's issuance of marketing claim standards, such as the NE3 standard, that lack clear statutory authority. Although AMS has certain authorities to defme and regulate marketing claims in commerce, such as organic claims as well as origin claims and method of production claims for certain commodities sold at retailers as defined, generally marketing claims associated with products such as those from livestock are regulated by sister Agencies within the Federal Government.

AMS does have clear authority to verify industry standards or standards that companies establish for themselves under the Agency's suite of Quality System Verification Programs. However, since the GVD 1006 Procedure contains an Agency-developed marketing claim standard absent clear statutory authority, effective immediately the procedure is rescinded.

By withdrawing the NE3 Program, QAD will contact applicants using the NE3 Program to ensure their programs are adjusted within the established timeframes to industry or company developed program requirements. This transition will be consistent with how QAD verifies such common marketing claims for livestock breeds and other value determining traits. Further, the AMS website will be revised to ensure a smooth transition for applicants who are using the Program in their operations.

If you have any questions, contact Jennifer Porter, QAD Director, at (202) 690-3147 or Steve Ross, Manager of Field Operations, at (307) 638-5056.

Craig A. Morris
Deputy Administrator