The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reviewing its guidelines for the use of the "natural" label on poultry in response to industry concerns, according to the Associated Press.
The argument stems from the injection of some chicken with salt, water and other ingredients to enhance flavor and its subsequent promotion as "natural." About one-third of chicken sold in the U.S. contains additives that could represent up to 15% of the meat's weight and double or triple its sodium content. Advocates for review argue that labeling the chicken as "natural" could mislead or even harm consumers who must limit their salt intake. "With all the talk about food now, all the interest in salt, the chicken industry needs to be very upfront about these issues and be very truthful," said Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service plans to have new proposed rules available this fall.