FSIS Revises Definitions of US Poultry Classes

US - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the definitions and standards for the official US classes of poultry so that they more accurately and clearly describe the characteristics of poultry in the market today.
calendar icon 10 November 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Poultry classes are defined primarily in terms of the age and sex of the bird. Genetic improvements and poultry management techniques have reduced the grow-out period for some poultry classes, while extensive cross-breeding has produced poultry with higher meat yields but blurred breed distinctions. FSIS is taking this action to ensure that the labelling of poultry products is truthful and not misleading.

This rule is effective on 1 January 2014.

In this final rule, FSIS is lowering the age definitions for five classes of poultry:

  • 'Rock Cornish game hen' or 'Cornish game hen from five to six weeks to less than five weeks
  • 'broiler' or 'fryer' from under 13 weeks to less than 10 weeks
  • 'roaster' or 'roasting chicken' from three to five months to eight to 12 weeks of age
  • 'capon' from under eight months to less than four months , and
  • fryer–roaster turkey from under 16 weeks to less than 12 weeks.

The Agency decided not to lower the age definition for a 6th class of poultry – young turkey – as proposed. Therefore, the age definition for a young turkey remains at less than eight months of age.

In addition to lowering the age definition for the 'roaster' class, this final rule also defines a 'roaster' based on a ready-to-cook (RTC) carcass weight of five pounds or more. Consistent with the proposal, the Agency is deleting the word 'usually' from the age designation descriptions in all of the poultry class standards so that these age designations will be clear and enforceable.

Further Reading

- You can view the full details by clicking here.
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