Meat

The widely used practice of injecting meat and poultry with “marinades” or solutions to plump up flavor content and texture may now be more visible to consumers through a proposed new rule suggested by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Currently, raw meats and poultry do not have to be labeled to note the addition of these widely used flavor solutions, which may boost the sodium content of the meat unbeknownst to the consumer.

In a statement from the USDA, the proposed rule would “require that the common or usual name of these products include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry component, the percentage of added solution, and the individual or multi-ingredient components in the added solution. The print for such labels would be presented in a font, size, and color that are easily visible to consumers.”

Raw meat and poultry can contain a variety of injected solutions including water, teriyaki sauce, salt and a number of other ingredients. A chicken breast that contains any injections can currently be labeled simply as “chicken breast” even though up to 40 percent of the packaged meat could be a flavor solution. Under the proposed rule, the label for the injected chicken would read: “Chicken breast – 40% added solution of water and teriyaki sauce.”

Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said, “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.”

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image: Anthony Albright