ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

‘Fresh’ Supermarket Chicken Flown in From Brazil

by 5m Editor
17 December 2007, at 10:13am

UK - Thousands of tonnes of apparently fresh poultry meat sold in supermarkets and catering outlets is imported and often months old.

An official definition of the term “fresh”, as used on food labels, is being drawn up amid concerns that consumers are buying meat that is much older than it seems to be. Much of the basted turkey and chicken joints, fillets in sauce or breadcrumbs and packs of chicken sandwiches in shops appears to be fresh. But with the amount of poultry being imported from Brazil and Thailand expanding, more of it is weeks or even months old. Once it reaches Britain, importers can keep cooked meat, uncooked birds and poultry pieces in cold store.

Meat in ready meals could be many months old, and may have been thawed and frozen a number of times. The meat is safe but information on labels about its origin is frequently unclear. Lord Rooker,the Food and Farming Minister, backs a campaign to clarify labelling rules so that consumers do not buy a sandwich made from thawed meat when they think it is fresh.

European Union rules give no time limit for use of “fresh” on poultry meat. Chicken may not be frozen then thawed and sold as “fresh”, but this does not prevent meat that has travelled for weeks from being put in supermarket chiller units as if it were from a bird just slaughtered. Industry chiefs fear that such exports could expand into the fresh raw meat premium market. The European Commission admits that new labelling rules are required. Officials in Brussels are soon to provide options for a new definition of “fresh”.

Source: TimesOnline

5m Editor