July 22, 2011
USDA group proposes new raw meat, poultry labelling rule
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service proposed Thursday (Jul 21) a new rule aimed to set up common, easily understood names for raw meat and poultry products with injections, marinades or other added solutions that may not be visible to consumers.
Under the proposed rule, the common or usual name for products with solutions would include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry, the percentage of added solution and the individual or multi-ingredient components of the solution, all presented in a font, size and colour that are easily visible to consumers.
As an example, a single-ingredient chicken breast and a chicken breast with added solution may both be labelled as "chicken breast," even if one is 60% chicken and 40% solution. Although the latter product's labelling must say that it contains solution, consumers may not notice this if it isn't part of the product's name. Thus, the new name under the proposed rule would be "chicken breast â€“ 40% added solution of water and teriyaki sauce."
"Consumers should be able to make an informed choice in the store, which is why we need to provide clear, informative labels that will help consumers make the best decisions about feeding their families," Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said in a statement. "It has become evident that some raw meat and poultry labels, even those that follow our current guidelines, may not be clear."
"President Obama in January wrote in the Wall Street Journal that regulatory initiatives should solve problems, not create new ones," American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle said in a statement. "USDA's new proposal to change the labelling of many raw meat and poultry products, while adding no new information not already required on the label, is both unnecessary and wasteful."
FSIS is soliciting comments on the proposed rule, which can be found on the FSIS website and soon will appear in the Federal Register.