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Metro Government Relations Update

Regulatory Alert – Selling meat, fish and poultry by the piece

New York State Weights and Measures Packaging and Labeling Regulations. Following up on an FIA member inquiry regarding the practice of selling certain ready-to-eat products by the piece rather than by net weight, FIA had a conversation with Mike Sikula, acting director of the weights and measures bureau of the Dept. of Agriculture & Markets, to clarify the rules. The question arose because the state regulations, in 1 NYCRR Part 221, Section 221.13(b)(2), provide that “all meat, meat products, poultry (whole or parts), all fish and seafood, except shellfish, shall be offered or exposed for sale or sold by net weight” except that “(v)This section shall not apply to ready-to-eat food consisting of:…(c)ready-to-eat seafood, whole poultry, poultry parts or parts of meat less than a primal source…such as spare ribs and not including whole or sliced subprimals such as ham or roasted beef, cooked on the premises where offered or exposed for sale, but not packaged in advance of sale”. Nevertheless, the retailer received a violation from the New York City Dept. of Consumer Affairs for selling such products by the piece, which appears to be permitted. What FIA learned from Mr. Sikula is that inspectors have been provided with an interpretation in their quality manual that governs this situation. In summary, retailers may sell these ready-to-eat items by the piece so long as a net weight is also disclosed. It is not required to weigh each piece. Although it is not permitted to use the word “minimum”, Mr. Sikula said that a retailer would be in compliance if the retailer declared a weight that is the minimum that a package would contain.

 For your information and use, please see the guidance document reprinted on page 2.  To access New York State Regulations Part 221 governing the sale of commodities go to http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/WM/RegPart221.pdf.

E.1.23     Meat, Poultry and Fish – Standard Weight Items Sold by Count with Net Weight

Applicable Documents

  1. Regulations, Part 221.13(b)(2)
  2. Article 17, Section 214-h

Background

As part of a new marketing campaign designed for families and individuals interested in meals “Ready-to-Cook” retail food merchants are displaying certain meat, poultry and fish items for sale by count with an accompanying net weight statement. These types of sales are being made from bulk from refrigerated display cases and in prepackaged containers.

Examples:

From Bulk

Pre-Packaged

Interpretation

The State Bureau, after conferring with the State Food Safety and Inspection Bureau, finds the types of bulk signs and pre-packaged labels as shown above are in compliance with the Regulations. The State Bureau considers these types of labels fully informative as to the net weight statement (e.g. four crab cakes weighing 2.5 oz  each must have a total net weight of 10 oz). As with any net weight declaration qualifiers such as “minimum” are not permitted.