FSIS Requires Labeling of Salt Solutions Added to Meat, Poultry

By News Desk | January 1, 2015

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final rule requiring that processors of raw meat and poultry disclose the products’ added solutions on their labels.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requiring that the descriptive designation include the percentage of added solution and the individual ingredients or multi-ingredient components in the solution listed in descending order of predominance by weight.

The agency proposed changes to the labeling of these products on July 27, 2011, in response to petitions wanting to prevent consumers from being misled by the marketing of added-solution poultry products.

In 2010, the Truthful Labeling Coalition, which included three meat and poultry processors, wrote and complained to then-Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen, that Pilgrim’s Pride labelled their chicken “100% Natural” and “Reduced Sodium” despite containing 180 mg of sodium per serving — “four times the amount of sodium in truly natural single-ingredient chicken that has not been pumped full of saltwater.”

Michael Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, praised the rule, stating that about 60 percent of all raw meat and poultry products are injected with, or soaked in, a salty solution.

“That sodium increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” he said. The finalized rule “will make it clear to shoppers that many meat and poultry products are adulterated, not enhanced, with high percentages of salty solutions.”

FSIS stated that the new rule will improve public awareness, will allow consumers to better determine whether certain products are suitable for their dietary needs, and may help lead to “an increase in consumer welfare.”

The rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

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