Food Engineering

Corrections to meat/poultry rule

March 22, 2003


The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a correction to the final rule on "Retained Water in Raw Meat and Poultry Products; Poultry Chilling Requirements." Originally published in the Jan. 9 Federal Register, the final rule amends FSIS regulations by limiting the amount of water retained in raw, single-ingredient meat and poultry products.

In the original published rule, FSIS made some inadvertent errors in the amended regulatory text and in corresponding preamble references. One of the errors mistakenly removed the zero tolerance regulation, which prevents poultry with fecal contamination from entering the chiller. With the correction, the zero tolerance regulation remains in effect.

In addition to the corrections, FSIS has added language ensuring that the provisions governing the re-use of ice and water used for chilling are consistent with the sanitation regulations for meat and poultry establishments.

Under the new regulation, meat and poultry carcasses and their parts will not be permitted to retain water unless it is an unavoidable consequence of the processes used to meet food safety requirements. Products with retained water will need to disclose such a fact in their labeling.

The regulations are intended to provide consumers with more information about what is in the meat and poultry they purchase, and assist them in making more informed choices. The final rule becomes effective Jan. 9 2002.