Meat Producers, Manufacturers, and Distributors May have to Adhere to to Meat Labeling Laws

Meat Producers, Manufacturers, and Distributors May have to Adhere to to Meat Labeling Laws

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WASHINGTON — Have you ever wondered what exactly was in the meat that you have eaten? Well, consumers have voiced their concern and the United States Department of Agriculture wants you to know that they’ve heard it, loud and clear.

A proposed rule aimed at food companies would require that poultry and other raw meats be labeled appropriately when they’re plumped up by added solutions such as chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, salt or water. The practice of adding those ingredients is common, but many consumers don’t know about it.

According to USDA, about one-third of poultry, 10 percent of beef and 90 percent of pork may have added ingredients — about 40 percent of all raw, whole cuts of meat. The rule does not apply to ground beef, which may have other added substances.

“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,” said Elisabeth Hagen, head of food safety at the department. “It has become evident that some raw meat and poultry labels, even those that follow our current guidelines, may not be clear.”

Currently, labels may state that other additives or “enhancing” ingredients have been added, but not which ones. If they are stating which ingredients have been added, many consumers simply don’t understand the technical and chemical jargon that is being published on their food labels. The added ingredients to poultry can equal up from 15% to 18% of the meat, according to a meat industry insider.

Many consumer advocacy groups have been urging the department to crack down on this for years, adding that the practice of adding these extra ingredients to meat and poultry is unhealthy. In many cases, the consumer is paying more due to the added water and salt within their meat, which can equate to a lot more dollars spent on meant that is generally bought on a per-pound basis.


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