The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a proposed rule that would require raw meat and poultry products that contain injected marinades or solutions to be named in a way that clearly distinguishes them from 100 percent meat or poultry products. According to FSIS, consumers are likely unaware that “enhanced products” may contain increased levels of sodium because current labels are unclear as to whether a solution has been added. For example, under current rules, 100 percent chicken breasts and products containing 60 percent chicken and 40 percent solution may both be called and labeled “chicken breast.” The latter product must indicate that a solution has been added, but manufacturers have been doing so in typefaces and fonts that can be difficult to read.
To avoid misbranding, FSIS proposes that the labels feature (i) as the product’s “name” an accurate description of the product with the percent of added solution, such as “chicken breast – 40% added solution of water, teriyaki sauce, and salt”; (ii) the added solution’s ingredients; and (iii) a consistent font, size and color on a contrasting background easily visible to consumers. FSIS considered but rejected use of the term “enhanced,” because it could “imply a judgment about the value of the product.” Requesting comments by September 26, 2011, the agency anticipates that the finalized rules will take effect January 1, 2014. See USDA Press Release, July 21, 2011; Federal Register, July 27, 2011.