Chapter 7 – Packaging and labelling
7.22 Meat Standards as prescribed in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990

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The following guidelines concerning the application of the minimum meat product protein requirements as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.

7.22.1 Protein requirements

Any meat product, other than white pudding and haggis, containing a filler, shall, in the absence of a specific standard for that meat product, contain not less than:

  1. in the case of an uncooked product, 9½% meat product protein and 11% total protein; or
  2. in the case of a cooked product, 11½% meat product protein and 13% total protein."

When labels are reviewed for meat products falling in the above category, the following points should be noted:

  1. When a portion of a food product is distinguishable as a meat product, only that portion need meet the above mentioned protein requirements.
  2. When a meat product is blended with a non-meat product and has the appearance of a meat product, then that entire preparation must meet the above mentioned protein requirement.
  3. When a meat product is used for flavouring a food and is not perceived or generally recognized by consumers to have the nutritional qualities normally associated with a meat product, then the above percentages do not apply.

7.22.2 Ingredients derived from milk

When certain milk-derived products are used in meat products, they are declared in the list of ingredients, as "milk ingredients" or "modified milk ingredients".

  1. Milk Ingredients

    Any combination of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form: butter, buttermilk, butter oil (milk fat), cream, milk, partly skimmed milk, skim milk, and any other component of milk the chemical composition of which has not been altered and that exists in the food in the same chemical state in which it is normally found in milk.

  2. Modified Milk Ingredients

    Any combination of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form: calcium-reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultrafiltered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is normally found in milk.

Note: any one or more ingredients or components mentioned in (a) combined with any one or more ingredients or components mentioned in (b) are considered to be a modified milk ingredient.

7.22.3 Gums and gelling agents

Gums, gelling agents, or any other food additives are not permitted to be used as fillers. Where a standard provides for the use of a gelling agent, agar, carrageenan and gelatine may be used up to 0.25% in the finished product without reflection of such use in the product name. In such instances, the gelling agent would only be listed as an ingredient. If any of the gelling agents are used in greater quantities than 0.25%, their use must be reflected in the product name. It must be noted that such gelling agents may be mixed manually with the meat or by means of a mixing device (e.g. mixer, tumbler) and shall not be added to injection or pumping solutions.

7.22.4 Use of pork or poultry skin

The use of pork or poultry skin without the normally underlying tissues is permitted in prepared comminuted meat products, provided it is added to skinless meat from the same species and the level of addition does not exceed 8%. The percentage is to be calculated by weight relative to the boneless pork or poultry meat content (including the skin) as applicable. Therefore, if the total weight of boneless product is 100 kg, it may contain up to 8 kg of skin (92 kg of boneless skinless meat +8 kg of skin). (If skin-on cuts are used, no further addition of skin is permitted.) No label declaration is required as detached skin, added back in natural proportions, is considered to be meat.

7.22.5 Use of mechanically separated meat (MSM)

Mechanically separated meat may now be used in the following meat products:

  1. standardized comminuted cooked meat products as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990;
  2. non-standardized comminuted cooked meat products;
  3. fresh sausages, preserved sausages, uncooked burger products; and
  4. raw mechanically separated meat.

Note: Products in (iii) shall only be sold in the frozen state. The use of MSM in comminuted meat (e.g. ground beef, ground pork, etc.) or in meat patties is prohibited.

7.22.6 Wiltshire bacon

The following standards apply for that product:

  1. meat product ingredient:

    boneless pork loin with portion of the belly attached* (mandatory)

  2. other ingredients and food additives:
    • salt* (mandatory)
    • preservatives* (mandatory)
    • water+ (optional)
    • seasoning+ (optional)
    • phosphates+ (optional)
  3. mandatory treatments and processes:
    • - (cured)
    • * (mandatory)
    • + (optional)

7.22.7 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork

This product is to be distinguished from partially defatted beef and pork fatty tissue. Partially defatted chopped beef or pork is derived from trimmings that have at least 12% visible lean meat, are desinewed and defatted and generally have a protein content between 17% and 20%. The product, when shipped from or to a registered establishment, must be identified as partially defatted chopped beef or partially defatted chopped pork as the case may be. The product may be used in the preparation of comminuted cooked meat products such as cooked sausages, loaves, pizza toppings, chili con carne, cooked burgers, potted meat, etc. Partially defatted chopped beef and pork may not be used for the production of ground meat, patties or raw sausages because the product has been subjected to a low heating process of up to 59°C during its preparation.

When partially defatted chopped beef or pork is used in cooked comminuted meat products, the declaration in the ingredient listing shall read beef or pork as the case may be. On the other hand, partially defatted beef or pork fatty tissue must be declared as such in the ingredient listing and shall only be used in cooked sausages and loaves as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.

7.22.8 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork obtained from a low temperature heating process

Partially defatted chopped beef and pork obtained from a low heating process in which the product is not subject to a temperature above 43.3°C during its preparation can be used in the preparation of fresh (i.e. uncooked) meat products including ground meat, patties or raw sausages. Naturally the product may be used in the preparation of cooked meat and other prepared meat products.

Low temperature partially defatted chopped beef or pork is derived from trimmings that have at least 12% visible lean meat, are desinewed and defatted. The product has a protein content above 14%.

The product is considered to be meat and as such the declaration in the ingredient listing shall read "beef" or "pork" as the case may be. Furthermore, no specific name is required to identify the product on shipping containers. However, as for any other meat products, the common name used has to be descriptive of the product and not misleading. The product can be identified as ground meat provided it meets the standard in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.

Specifically, in the labelling of ground meat, only the following four designations are permitted, depending on the fat content: regular ground "meat" (max. 30% fat), medium ground "meat" (max. 23% fat), lean ground "meat" (max. 17% fat) and extra-lean ground "meat" (max. 10% fat), the term "meat" being replaced by the name of the animal species (e.g., regular ground beef).

7.22.9 Use of phosphate salts or water in the preparation of meat products

Sections B.01.090 – B.01.090 and B.14.005. – B.14.021 of the Food and Drug Regulations permits the use of phosphate salts and/or water in solid cut meat products and in other prepared meat products for which a minimum meat protein standard has been set.

For more details on this policy, please consult Meat and Poultry Products With Added Phosphate Salts and or Water.

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