LIVINGSTON, Calif. — Foster Farms, the West Coast’s leading poultry brand,
supports U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) announcement today calling for the
USDA to take a closer look at labeling regulations that permit sodium-injected –
or “plumped” – chicken products to carry the “natural” label.
Sen. Boxer commends Foster Farms’ commitment to raising consumer awareness about
truly natural fresh poultry products and the misleading practice of injecting
or plumping fresh chicken with added saltwater and still calling it “natural.”
“In my own home state of California, poultry companies are to be commended for
raising consumer awareness about what ‘natural’ labeling should really mean,”
During the press conference, Boxer quoted findings from a Foster Farms consumer
survey which found that “more than two-thirds of consumers who purchased sodium
injected chicken were unaware that it contained sodium additives.” Chicken
labeled “natural” can contain up to 500 percent more sodium than truly natural,
no saltwater added, fresh chicken. Under current guidelines, both plumped and
truly “natural” poultry can be labeled “natural.”
“At Foster Farms, we believe that ‘natural’ labeled chicken should be just that
fresh, raw chicken – not chicken loaded with saltwater and additives that’s
been trucked across the country to your grocery store,” said Ira Brill, Director
of Marketing for Foster Farms. “Consumers need to be able to rely on food
labels; they need to know what they’re buying. For Foster Farms, ‘natural’ means
fresh, locally grown with no additives, preservatives or saltwater.”
In just four months, Foster Farms’ Say No to Plumping consumer awareness
campaign generated more than 20,000 petition signatures from consumers who want
the USDA to preserve the term “natural” for truly natural fresh foods, free of
saltwater, additives or preservatives.
According to a recent research study led by Dr. Bibbins-Domingo from the
University of California at San Francisco, reducing sodium intake by 1,200 mg a
day (equivalent to approximately tsp. of salt) could lead to a significant
decrease in the number of heart disease cases, heart attacks and death. The
study also projects reduction in sodium intake could add up to big savings for
Americans – up to $24 billion savings in annual health care costs. The study
also found that the health benefits of reducing sodium intake could be
equivalent to those resulting from smoking cessation, weight loss and using
“We appreciate Sen. Boxer’s commitment to resolving the issue of ‘natural’
labeling,” said Brill.
How can consumers ensure their chicken is truly natural?
1.Depend on brands, like locally-grown Foster Farms, that do not “plump” their
fresh, natural chicken.
2.Read the label Don’t depend on “natural” to guide you. Even “plumped”
chicken can be legally touted as “natural.” Instead, look to the nutrition label
on the back of the package: Truly natural chicken should have no more than 75 mg
sodium per 4 oz serving.
3.Take a stand Send a message to the USDA regarding “natural” labeling of
plumped chicken. Sign a petition against plumping at
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, families have depended on Foster Farms (www.fosterfarms.com) for
premium quality chicken and turkey products. Family-owned and operated, the
company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established
by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all
natural chicken and turkey products free of preservatives, additives or injected
sodium enhancers. Based in California’s Central Valley, with ranches also in the
Pacific Northwest, the company’s fresh chicken and turkey are produced in or
near each region served. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated,
ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience
needs of today’s home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice
customers. The company’s commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service,
and people is a source of great pride, and, a longtime family tradition.