Salted Chicken Label Disputed

CALIFORNIA - Squawks are a common occurrence at the Livingston headquarters of Foster Farms, California's largest poultry producer, but the latest has reached Washington, DC, and it doesn't come from the chickens.
calendar icon 6 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Foster executives are complaining to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about the practice of some competing poultry processors of pumping salt water, seaweed extract and other ingredients into their dressed chickens before sending them to market.

Even with the injections the USDA allows these processors to label the chickens as "100 percent natural." The Foster folks consider that an unacceptable exaggeration of the term "natural." Congressman Dennis Cardoza, who is from Merced and represents Livingston voters, has asked the USDA to rescind its 2006 approval of the labeling. He said it is unfair to producers of non-enhanced chicken and might mislead people into buying products with an unhealthy amount of salt.

Cardoza noted at a Washington press conference that enhanced chicken has gained a nearly 30-percent share of the fresh market, but it is not a major part of the Northern San Joaquin Valley's poultry industry.

However, Cardoza noted that Foster does produce a line of marinated products. The Modesto Bee reports that Foster sells most of its chicken without adding anything.

In defense of additives a spokesman for Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said the company sells whole birds and pieces in a solution of chicken broth, salt and carrageenan, a seaweed extract that helps retain the moisture of the meat.

Source: VisaliaTimes-Delta
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