September 2011/Prepared Foods’ “Regulations”-- The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released an advance copy of a proposed rule titled “Common or Usual Name for Raw Meat and Poultry Products.” Under the proposed rule, raw meat and poultry products with added solution that do not otherwise fall under an established standard of identity would have a common or usual name, consisting of a description of the product; the percentage of solution added; and a list of ingredients contained in the solution.

According to FSIS, added solutions change the nutrient composition of raw meat and products and have been shown by consumer studies to influence purchasing decisions. FSIS indicates it is concerned consumers may be unaware of the presence of added solution in some products. Under the proposed rule, the common or usual name for raw meat or poultry products with added solutions that do not otherwise have an established standard of identity must contain:

1. An accurate description of the raw meat or poultry product, or in the case of a raw poultry product with a standard cut, the name of the standard cut;
2. The percentage of added solution; and
3. The common or usual name of all individual ingredients or multi-ingredient components in the solution.

 The percentage of solution would be calculated by dividing the weight of the added solution by the weight of the raw product without solution and would be displayed using numerals and the percent symbol. The individual ingredients would be listed in the name in descending order of weight. Multi-ingredient components, such as teriyaki sauce, would not need to list their sub-ingredients.

 All letters in the common or usual name would have to appear in the same color, font size and font style against a single-color contrasting background. If all the ingredients in the solution are listed in the common or usual name, no ingredient list would be required; but, if the common or usual name contains a multi-ingredient component, a full ingredient list would be required on the label. The proposed rule would apply to all products, regardless of whether they are subject to inspection.

 The proposed rule would not change the way products complying with a standard of identity are named, even if the standard of identity includes added solution. As an example, FSIS explains the proposed rule would not apply to “corned beef,” which may include up to 10% by fresh weight of curing solution, so long as the product contains an allowed amount of solution. If the product contains more solution than permitted by the standard of identity, it would be subject to the proposed rule, and its common or usual name would have to include the solution ingredients.

 The proposed rule also would not apply to fully cooked or partially heat-treated products (e.g., a raw chicken strip with added solution that is breaded and submerged in hot oil to set the breading). Nor would it apply to products that retain water as part of post-evisceration processing, unless those products subsequently have solutions added.

 The proposed rule would remove 9 C.F.R. § 381.169, which contains the standard for “ready-to-cook poultry products to which solutions are added.” FSIS indicates it intends to rescind Policy Memos 042, 044A and 066C, if a final rule is published.