US body calls for raw chicken laws

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Some Americans have apparently been eating raw chicken kievs
Some Americans have apparently been eating raw chicken kievs

Related tags Meat United states department of agriculture Food Packaging equipment & materials Poultry

Mandatory labelling for raw and stuffed poultry is urgently needed to stop consumers becoming sick and confused, the National Chicken Council (NCC) warned the US government.

The NCC has called on US government food safety officials to implement labelling regulations for not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) stuffed chicken products, which some consumers have misinterpreted as being okay to eat without any preparation.

In a petition submitted to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the NCC said ensuring the health and safety of consumers remained its “number one priority​”.

It has called for the US government to take two steps: the first is to adopt regulation that “prominently and uniformly​” labels NRTE products to inform consumers it is raw whilst providing preparation advice. A compliance guide to validate cooking instructions for NRTE chicken items that appear ready-to-eat has also been requested.

Inform consumers

Frozen items like breaded, pre-boned chicken cordon bleu, chicken kievs or stuffed chicken are examples of products for which the NCC wants clearer labelling.

NCC increasingly is aware that some consumers may be uncertain of the proper handling and cooking methods for NRTE stuffed chicken breast products that may appear RTE (ready-to-eat), and the proposed measures are necessary to ensure proper handling and cooking of these products,​” said NCC president Mike Brown.

This labelling would clearly inform consumers that these products are raw and require proper cooking while providing specific and uniform instructions on how to cook the products.​”

Safety first

A 2009 study on the comprehension of 1,000 US consumers revealed clearer labelling on raw chicken products would be “successful​” in ensuring Americans were aware that the product required cooking. The study, conducted by the NCC, revealed that multiple inclusions of the word ‘raw’ helped comprehension rise from 55% to 76%.

Making these labels mandatory and providing validated cooking instructions on every package of raw, breaded, stuffed chicken will give consumers one more tool to ensure a safe eating experience for them and their families,​” said Brown in the petition to the US government.

The science-based recommendations championed by the NCC are also supported by the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods.

Neither the USDA nor FSIS was available to comment at the time of writing.

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