The end of 2014 brought a final ruling from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on new labeling requirements for meat and poultry that have added solutions, such as salt and water.
The new labeling regulations will require disclosing the percentage of added solution and the ingredients in the solution to be listed in descending order of predominance by weight. The rule will go into effect January 1, 2016.
FSIS originally announced these proposed requirements back in July 2011, after many petitions from the public and consumer groups. The concerns were not only about misleading consumers on the actual weight of the meat or poultry verses the added solution, but also health risks.
The added salty solutions has been reported as much as “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,” as reported by the Truthful Labeling Coalition in 2010.
It is well known that high levels of sodium is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and a higher risk of strokes. The new labeling will give consumers a better understanding of what they will be purchasing so that they can make more informed, healthier decisions.