Brining regulations: chicken to become expensive

New brining regulations, which cap the amount of brine in whole chicken at 10% and 15% for portions, could result in rising food costs, said Kevin Lovell, CEO of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA)

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“Brining is a curing solution, which is a way of preserving meat, but for chicken we use it as a flavour enhancer and it makes frozen chicken similar to fresh and when you brine it improves taste,” said Lovell.

“The industry grew on the back of this practice."

According to Lovell, brining is not a deceptive practice and reduces the cost of the meat.

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“The alternatives are that people will buy either more expensive or unbalanced meat that can’t sustain life such as polony or other processed meats which are higher in salt and fat. All of the alternatives are worse than brined chicken.”

The new brining regulations will add about 20% to the cost of chicken, if the increased price of production is carried through to the consumer, said Lovell.

“The reason is that there is the same amount of live chickens coming in and 15% less product leaving the plant, and thus the shelves will be emptier.

“There will be between 100 000 and 200 000 tons less meat produced per year,” said Lovell. This could mean that between one and two million people could lose their jobs.

He did not say if SAPA will be challenging the regulations in court.