This web forum has been established to educate consumers and provide related information about a food policy decision recently implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will negatively impact your family budget when making value comparisons purchasing meat and poultry products.

On October 9, 2008, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) eliminated the wet tare method used for determining net weight of poultry and meat products purchased by consumers.The wet tare method for determining net weight of poultry and meat products does not include liquids absorbed into packaging materials or free-flowing in the package as part of the net weight of the product for which you, as a consumer, are charged.

USDA, by excluding wet tare methodology, mandated the use of "dry tare" procedures, which include in the net weight all fluids - including those added to the meat, to the package, or not held by the meat.Having eliminated the wet tare method, consumers will now pay meat prices for absorbed and free-flowing fluids in the packages.

Until October 9, 2008, California was the only remaining state in the U.S. implementing the wet tare method, providing enhanced protections to consumers of meat and poultry products and saving them an estimated $246 million in California alone. To consumers nationwide (assuming that California has an approximate 12% market share), the potential cost savings through the use of wet tare inspection procedures projects to a total of over $2 billion annually for all American families.

We believe that states, along with national agricultural policy decision makers, should adopt the wet tare method as the national standard for packaged meat and poultry, rather than the dry tare method. This is especially important given the current conditions of great economic uncertainty for many U.S. households.

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