WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants processed poultry producers to label products that contain poultry that has been mechanically separated.
"Because of its processing, texture and characteristics, mechanically separated poultry is different from what consumers ordinarily think of as chicken or turkey," said Michael Taylor, USDA's administrator with the Food Safety and Inspection Service, in a statement.
The new USDA labeling proposal covers all processed turkey and chicken and other products such as hot dogs and bologna that contain mechanically separated poultry.
Poultry is mechanically separated with high-pressure devices that first crush the bone and then force the bone and tissue through a sieve.
While proposing the poultry labeling regulation, FSIS decided to withdraw a similar regulation covering products containing meat that is mechanically deboned. This long-standing regulation is being dropped due to innovations in meat-separation equipment that does not crush or grind bones.
While applauding withdrawal of the meat regulation, food processors attacked the USDA's poultry plan.
"The focus of USDA's regulations should be on the safety and wholesomeness of food products themselves, which in this case are not in question," said John Cady, chief executive officer of the National Food Processors Association.