Where's the Beef?

New USDA rules mean you could get short changed in the meat department

So here's the deal, we're on the verge of the holiday season and people are already thinking of ways to garnish that rump roast, ham or turkey. But should shoppers be concerned that they're getting short-changed in the meat department?

The USDA announced a new procedure that would regulate how meat is weighed. County officials say no longer will just the meat be weighed, but meat packers can include packing and by products like spices, water and blood.

 Kurt Floren, Director of Los Angeles County Agricultural Commission, says "when consumers are buying meat, they're buying meat. Not all these fluids."

  Floren says the new changes means you may be charged for stuff you neither need nor use.  County inspectors showed NBC Los Angeles a package of fresh chicken, labeled at 2.6  pounds. After removing the liquid, the actual weight came to only 2.18 pounds. If you bought this package, 7 percent of your purchase was wet waste....that's about 40 cents down the drain.

Floren says California was the last state to exclude wet waste in the weight of fresh meat.   Floren is challenging the ruling, but in the meantime, consumers should look closely at labels.

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