USDA Delays Chicken Labeling Rules

WASHINGTON - The government has agreed to give poultry processors another year to comply with new chicken labeling rules, The Associated Press reports.

Processors were supposed to comply with the new rules by today but had asked the Agriculture Department to delay them for two years.

The rules require poultry processors to disclose the water content of raw chicken that is sold in supermarkets. Processors also must show if any added water is a consequence of anti-bacterial treatment. Slaughtered chickens are routinely chilled in cold water to stop bacteria growth.

For years the cattle and hog industries have argued that it is unfair for poultry to be sold with up to 8 percent added water weight when beef and pork cannot have any, according to the AP. Cattle and hog carcasses are chilled in freezers.

A federal judge ruled in 1997 that those standards were unfair and ordered USDA to come up with the new rules. The department says the labeling requirement will add a penny per pound to the retail price of chicken.
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