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March 26, 2009

Truthful Labeling Coalition takes case to Institute of Medicine Meeting







March 26, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Charles M. Hansen, III

The Truthful Labeling Coalition
(202) 550-6270

TRUTHFUL LABELING COALITION TO CALL ATTENTION TO SALTWATER-INJECTED “ALL NATURAL” FRESH CHICKEN AT INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE MEETING

WASHINGTON D.C., March 26, 2009 — The Truthful Labeling Coalition (TLC) will reveal the exorbitant sodium content of mislabeled “all natural” fresh chicken to members of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake on Monday, March 30, 2009. As many of the nation’s leading medical and food industry professionals meet to explore strategies toward reducing sodium, the Coalition will direct attention to labeling practices that allow fresh chicken with 822% more sodium than truly natural chicken to be labeled “100% Natural” or “All Natural” under current U.S. Department of Agriculture poultry labeling guidelines.

“Consumers purchasing fresh, all natural chicken believe it is a healthy choice,” said Ira Brill, on behalf of West Coast-based Foster Farms, a TLC member. “They don’t expect to find high sodium levels in fresh chicken, nor do they expect to pay for that deliberately-added saltwater as part of the overall package price.”

“Saltwater-Enhanced” Chicken by the Numbers:

· Directly out of the package, a single serving of “saltwater-enhanced” chicken may contain over 440 mg of sodium—almost 20% of the 2,300 mg limit recommended for a healthy adult. For the millions of Americans on a sodium-restricted diet – that one serving of saltwater-enhanced chicken can be over half of their daily limit!

 

· In addition to all that extra sodium, American consumers are unknowingly spending a huge amount of their hard-earned grocery dollars on unwanted saltwater. The U.S. government estimates that consumers spend over $2 billion per year buying saltwater at chicken prices.

 

· 70 percent of people surveyed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in 2007 said that the label “Natural” should mean that no saltwater has been added.

Committed to the truthful labeling of fresh chicken, the TLC has led an aggressive campaign to urge the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enforce its existing labeling rules to allow only 100 percent natural chicken, with no additives such as saltwater or seaweed extract, to be labeled as "100% All Natural," and has championed the requirement that all added ingredients be prominently displayed on the label. The Truthful Labeling Coalition (TLC) is a coalition of truly natural chicken producers and over thirty thousand grassroots citizens in all fifty states. In 2008, the Coalition successfully fought USDA-approved labels that falsely claimed that the poultry had been “Raised Without Antibiotics.” For more information or to join the TLC’s efforts, go to http://www.truthfullabeling.org.

The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake will hold an information-gathering Open Session on March 30, 2009 from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm (approx). Location: Venable Conference Center, Room E11200 (8th floor), 575 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004.

Editor’s note: For copies of the TLC presentation to the Committee, product label comparisons, interviews and additional information, please contact Charles M. Hansen, III.

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