The US National Chicken Council (NCC) is petitioning the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to introduce the mandatory labelling of raw, stuffed chicken products that may appear cooked and ready-to-eat, but aren’t.
The NCC call relates to raw chicken products, which are typically sold frozen and might include items such as breaded, pre-browned chicken cordon bleu, chicken Kiev and chicken stuffed with broccoli and cheese.
The council is seeking USDA action on the following two specific points:
- To adopt a regulation requiring that not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) stuffed chicken breast products that appear ready-to-eat (RTE) be prominently and uniformly labelled to clearly inform consumers that the products are raw and how to properly handle and cook them.
- Publish a compliance guideline explaining how to validate cooking instructions for NRTE stuffed chicken breast products that appear RTE, which incorporates NCC’s “Best Practices for Cooking Instruction Validation for Frozen NRTE Stuffed Chicken Breast Products.”
“NCC 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, and the proposed measures are necessary to ensure proper handling and cooking of these products,” said NCC president, Mike Brown.
“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.”
The council also said that its research showed that the proposed label regulations would be successful in increasing consumer awareness that these products contain raw poultry and must be cooked for safety.