USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a new rule to require the use of “common or usual names” for raw meat and poultry products that include marinades or other solutions and ban use of the term “enhanced” to describe the product.

USDA said it was acting after studying petitions submitted by opponents of the practice of adding solutions to raw meat and poultry products.

“The term ‘enhanced’ is commonly used to describe products with added solutions, regardless of the method used to incorporate solution into the product and was the term used in the petitions submitted to the Agency,” FSIS said in the preamble to a proposed rule.  “However, FSIS recognizes that the term ‘enhanced’ could imply a judgment about the value of the product.  As such, the agency did not propose to include the term ‘enhanced’ in the common or usual name for products containing added solutions.”

“FSIS did not select the alternative of proposing to require the word “enhanced” in the product’s common or usual name because the word implies that the product is improved by the addition of the solution,” the agency added.  “The intent of this proposal is to increase transparency to consumers, not to suggest that the product is either better or worse than a raw product without the added solution.”

Under the proposed rule, the product package would have to state the common name of the product, such as “chicken breast,” and then display the percentage of added solution plus the common or usual names of the ingredients of the solution.  The agency said an example might be “Chicken breast – 15% added solution of water and salt.”

“The common or usual name must be printed in a single font size, color, and style of print and must appear on a single-color contrasting background,” the agency specified.

The proposed rule will be published soon in the Federal Register and is now available on the FSIS  Web site at www.fsis.usda/gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2010-0012.pdf.  Comments will be accepted for 60 days after the official publication, the agency said.  Officials told the news media that the regulation could not take effect before 2014.