The EU commission is launching a study to analyse the physiological water content in poultry meat produced in the EU in order to assess whether the limits indicated in the current regulation are still valid.
The regulation specifies that, depending on the chilling method used for freezing EU poultrymeat, up to 7% extraneous water is permissible in whole carcasses, and between 2% and 6% in cuts. If exceeded, the product may still be marketed in the EU, but must be labelled, in red capital letters, as “Water content exceeds EC limit”.
These thresholds, however, are based on an EU-wide study made in 1993 and there have been repeated suggestions that they are no longer relevant. “Since 1993, developments in respect of breeds, age at slaughter and the weight at slaughter have taken place, which may have caused a change in the proportion between physiological water and extraneous water,” said the EU Commission document.
The EU has launched a tender for organisations to study the water content of breast fillets and chicken legs, allocating a budget of up to €190,000 for the project. The study is due to be completed by the end of 2012.