The United States agriculture department (USDA)is planning to revise the country's poultry label rules. There is a possibility that this will bring about price rises.
The changes are intended to bring legislation into line with the modern practice of sending fowl to market at earlier ages due to new innovative breeding and feeding practices. Under the proposed rule, the age standards for Cornish game hens, broilers, roasters, capons, fryer-roaster turkey and young turkey would be lowered.
The new rules may lead to an increase in prices. The cost of a 5-pound chicken for example could by increased about 50 cents by labeling it as a roaster instead of a broiler.
The National Chicken Council (NCC) said that the changes would have little impact on the industry as a whole. Instead, the body believes that the proposals simple reflect current practice in the industry. Most broilers, the most widely sold chicken in US grocery stores, are less than 7 weeks old. The proposed rule would specify less than 10 weeks of age.
The USDA understands that age is an important factor in the marketing of poultry. Young birds tend to be more tender than older fowl and are suitable for more types of cooking. Poultry classes were created 30 years ago for chicken, turkey, geese, duck and guinea fowl to ensure truthful labels.
Americans consume an average of 81 pounds of chicken a year, making poultry the country's most popular meat source. The new proposals from the USDA are available at this website.