Definitions of the following terms were compiled, in part, from Standards
and Labeling Policy Book (1991 edition and 1996 update) and Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR) (1995 edition).
BARBECUED Applies to poultry that has been cooked over dry
heat and basted with a seasoned sauce.
BARBECUED PREPARED WITH MOIST HEAT Applies to poultry that
has been cooked by moist heat in a barbecue sauce.
BINDERS Substances approved for the purpose of improving texture,
binding, stabilizing, extending or maintaining the shape or form of
a product. See also EXTENDERS.
BREADED PRODUCTS Applies to any poultry product coated with
breading or with batter and breading in an amount not to exceed 30
percent of the weight of the finished breaded product. Exceptions are
turkey corn dog and pure batter coatings, which may not exceed 10 percent
of the weight of the finished product.
BROTH Flavorful liquids resulting from long simmering of turkey
BURGER A round shaped form made of only ground turkey meat,
with no binders or extenders allowed. Seasonings and flavorings are
BUTTER BASTED Butter flavored marination added for enhanced
BY-PRODUCTS Includes the skin, fat, gizzard, liver, heart
or any combination thereof. Label will not read "turkey by-products" but
will indicate which specific by-product is included.
CHOPPED, CHUNKED, SECTIONED Chopped turkey, chunks of turkey
and/or turkey sections may be formed, molded and pressed to make turkey
roasts, rolls, logs, etc.
CIB ROAST Translates into Cook-in-Bag Roast, raw, boneless.
Some bags are self-venting, others have to be split by the operator.
CODE DATE/USE BY Sometimes the notations are clear statements
of a "use by" date. At other times, the dates may reflect codes such
as the Julian calendar or other code dating systems. If unsure about
the meaning of the code, ask your sales/marketing representative for
COLOR Myoglobin, which contains iron and is the storehouse
for oxygen in living tissues, is the principal heme pigment influencing
meat color. More myoglobin in meat produces a more intense red color.
Breast muscle or white meat contains less myoglobin than dark poultry
Dark Coloration of Turkey Meat Bone darkening is a
common occurrence. Cooking oxidizes and denatures the hemoglobin, changing
its red color to various dark shades. Repeated freezing and thawing
of carcasses increases bone darkening, but extremely cold freezing
temperatures (less than -30ºF) cause less discoloration.
Red or Pink Caused by age and sex of bird, trace elements
in the water, dietary components, processing techniques or the ventilation
system of the oven used in cooking the product. This color does not
affect the palatability or safety of the product, when cooked to a
recommended 170ºF in the breast & 180ºF in the thigh.
Green Greening may occur in cured turkey products that
contain sodium nitrite. The surface as well as the center may exhibit
a green color.
At other times, meats will develop a greenish, almost iridescent
glow. This discoloration may appear on the surface or center of the
product. Microorganisms causing this problem include lactobacillus
These discolorations may occur more frequently during the summer
months when bacteria grow rapidly. While not harmful or unsafe, such
rainbow colored meat is certainly unappealing.
Discoloration also may occur as a result of mishandling at the distributor
or end-user level. When it occurs, contact your distributor or the
CORN DOG OR KORN DOG A coined name that must be accompanied
by a true product name, such as "Batter Dipped Turkey Franks on a Stick." Limited
to 65 percent cornmeal batter and a minimum of 35 percent frankfurter.
Product is typically fried or baked and is served on a stick.
"Corn Dogs" made from cooked turkey sausage, such as wieners or frankfurters,
must show the "kind" of poultry used in conjunction with the coined
name (e.g., "Corn Dogs" must be named "Turkey Corn Dogs").
CURED Product has been immersed or injected (also called pumped
or stitched) with a solution containing salt, approved levels of flavorings
and sodium nitrite. Cured products also can be made by mixing the curing
solution with the meat, stuffing the meat into casings and cooking.
See also NITRITES.
CUTLET, POULTRY Poultry cutlets may be cut as thin slices
from a whole muscle. Or they may be fabricated. In such cases, the
term "cutlet" must be properly and distinctly qualified to describe
the product, such as "Turkey Cutlet, Chopped and Formed."
CUTTING BOARDS A wooden cutting board may become a source
of contamination. The wood becomes crisscrossed with cuts that are
hideaways for microorganisms. Hard rubber or plastic blocks are
required in many areas since they do not score or chip easily,
thus decreasing the possibilities for food contamination. In addition,
they can be sanitized in the dishwasher or manually by immersion. (Where
wood is used, such as in baker's tables, it must be of a nonabsorbent
variety, such as hard maple.)
Separate cutting boards should be used for raw and cooked foods in
order to prevent cross-contamination. Frequent sanitation is also required
to prevent cross-contamination.
All cutting boards should be free of seams and cracks, may not contain
any toxic substances, and should not impart an odor or taste to the
food being cut.
"D" SHAPE A semi oval, or "D" shaped product. This shape is
formed from chunks of turkey. May also be labeled TAVERN, SLAB or OVAL.
DARK MEAT Drumstick, thigh, thigh trim meat and dark trim
meat from a turkey.
DELI OR DELICATESSEN STYLE The terminology has been permitted
on labeling for ready-to-eat turkey products. See also HAM, PASTRAMI,
SALAMI, LUNCHEON MEAT.
Cooked Diced Turkey--Raw boneless poultry placed in
a casing without any binders or extenders, cooked, drained of natural
juices and diced.
Diced Cooked Turkey with Natural Juices--Raw boneless
poultry placed in a casing without any binders or extenders, cooked
with natural juices retained and diced. Products of this type may contain
seasonings, such as salt, MSG, flavorings and spices, which will be
reflected in the ingredients statement.
Diced Cooked Turkey Roll or Diced Turkey From Turkey Roll--Diced
turkey also can be made from a cooked turkey roll.
DRUMETTE See FIRST WING PORTION.
DRY HEAT COOKING uses hot air or fat to transfer heat to the
food. Dry heat methods allow surface sugars to caramelize. These include:
roasting, baking, broiling, grilling, pan frying, deep-fat frying and
EXTENDERS Turkey sausage products may contain extenders and
binders, such as cereals, vegetable starch, soy flour, soy protein
concentrate, isolated soy protein, modified food starch, carrageenan,
nonfat dry milk, dried whey, reduced lactose whey, whey protein concentrate
and calcium lactate. These binders and extenders, singly or in combination,
are limited to 3.5 percent of the finished weight. If any of these
products are used, they must be noted on the product label. See also BINDERS.
FIRST WING PORTION/DRUMETTE Humerus of turkey with all meat
and skin attached may be labeled as: (a) Turkey Wing Drumettes (b)
Turkey Drumettes-From Disjointed Wings.
FLASH FROZEN The product is frozen as quickly as possible
to assure maximum quality. "Flash frozen" is acceptable on the labels
of products frozen within 12 hours after entry into blast or tunnel
freezer facilities. See also FROZEN.
FOIL ROAST Raw, boneless turkey roast, placed in foil for
cooking. Foil is peeled back the last half hour of cooking for browning.
FOOTBALL SHAPE Name reflects shape of product, which is formed
from sections of turkey. May also be called PLANK SHAPE.
FORMED, MOLDED, PRESSED Chopped turkey, chunks of turkey and/or
turkey sections may be formed, molded and pressed to make turkey roasts,
rolls, logs, etc.
FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING Producers may label products
as "Free Range" or "Free Roaming" if they can demonstrate to the USDA/FSIS
the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.
FREEZER BURN The drying of food that is exposed to air during
freezer storage is called freezer burn. It affects the flavor, tenderness
and juiciness of the meat, but not its wholesomeness.
To avoid freezer burn, wrap turkey securely in moisture and/or vapor-proof
paper or other packaging materials recommended for freezer storage.
Cool cooked turkey before wrapping to prevent condensation during freezing.
Be sure freezer temperature controls are in good operating order to
prevent wide fluctuations in temperature.
Handle products carefully to avoid tearing the packaging materials.
Date packages and rotate to assure a "first-in, first-out" policy.
FREEZING Freezing at processing plants is done in huge blast
freezers at temperatures of -30ºF. When turkey is frozen this quickly,
there is not enough time for large ice crystals to form, so the quality
of the meat remains excellent.
If products are frozen in regular freezers, the juices in the meat
freeze in the form of large ice crystals. These large ice crystals
tear the turkey flesh and damage the texture of the meat. When the
product is thawed, the meat may be mushy and will weep juices.
FRESH Turkey products labeled fresh have never had an internal
temperature below 26ºF, per USDA regulations.
FROZEN "Fresh frozen," "quick frozen," "frozen fresh" and
similar terms apply only to ready-to-cook poultry processed in accordance
with 9 CFR 381.66(f)(1). Ready-to-cook poultry handled in any other
manner and dressed poultry may be labeled "frozen" only if it is frozen
in accordance with 9 CFR 381.66(f)(2) under the USDA's Food Safety
and Inspection Service supervision and is in fact in a frozen state. "Individually
quick frozen turkey" and similar terms are applicable only to turkey
products that are frozen as stated on the label and whose component
parts can be easily separated at time of packing. See also FLASH
FRYER-ROASTER TURKEY Young, immature turkey, of either sex,
usually less than 16 weeks of age.
GIBLETS Refers to the liver, heart and gizzard, which are
packaged with the whole body turkey. Although often packaged with the
giblets, the neck of a bird is not a giblet.
GROUND TURKEY Ground turkey for foodservice is generally made
from dark turkey meat with natural skin proportions, (wings may be
included). Other ground turkey products are prepared from breast meat
and are labeled as such i.e. Ground Turkey Breast, Ground White Meat
or Lean Ground Turkey. Contact supplier for specific nutrient data.
HAM, TURKEY Made from boneless turkey thigh meat with skin
and surface fat removed. Must be cured and may contain added ingredients,
such as phosphates and flavorings. Product otherwise conforming to
the standard for turkey ham as defined in 9 CFR 381.171 of the poultry
products inspection regulations but weighing more than the original
weight of the turkey thigh meat used prior to curing shall be descriptively
labeled as follows: The product name must include, in addition to "Turkey
Ham" and the true product name, "Cured Turkey Thigh Meat," words that
specify the amount of the additional substances (e.g., "and ___ % Water," "With
___% Water Added" or "Turkey Ham and Water Product ___% of Weight is
Added Ingredients"). The ingredients of the added solution may be incorporated
into the product name (e.g., "Turkey Ham and Water Product ___% of
Weight is Added Water, Salt, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphate and Sodium
Nitrite"). The blank is filled in with the percent determined by subtracting
the original weight of the turkey thigh meat from the weight of the
cooked finished product (e.g., "Turkey Ham [cured turkey thigh meat]
and 12% Water").
Turkey Ham Products Some ground turkey thigh meat may
be added as a binder in turkey ham products as defined in 9 CFR 381.171
without declaration provided the ground turkey thigh meat is made from
trimmings removed from the turkey thighs during the boning and trimming
process. The amount of ground turkey thigh meat that may be used can
represent no more than the amount that was trimmed and in no case more
than 15 percent of the weight of the turkey thigh meat ingredients
at the time of formulation. Products containing any ground turkey thigh
meat not removed during the boning and trimming processes or products
containing more than 15 percent ground turkey thigh meat must be labeled
to indicate the presence of ground turkey thigh meat (e.g., "A portion
of ground turkey thigh meat added").
HEN or TOM TURKEY The sex designation of "hen" (female) or "tom" (male)
turkey is optional on the label, and is an indication of size rather
than the tenderness of a turkey.
HICKORY SMOKED TURKEY Product is exposed to natural smoke
during the cooking process. Denotes exclusive use of hickory wood,
hickory wood sawdust or the natural smoke flavoring vaporized by heat
derived from hickory wood. It is usually cured, but this is not a requirement.
See also SMOKED.
KIELBASA A cooked, cured sausage, usually highly seasoned.
This product is usually available in ring or link/stick form. The finished
product may contain up to 10 percent added water.
KOSHER AND KOSHER STYLE Products prepared by federally inspected
packing plants and identified with labels bearing references to "Kosher" or
Rabbinical markings must be handled under Rabbinical supervision. The
Federal Meat and Poultry Inspection Program does not certify to kosher
preparation of products but rather accepts the statements and markings
offered and applied under the supervision of the Rabbinical authority.
Application for approval must identify the Rabbinical authority under
whose supervision the product is to be prepared. Qualification of the
word by such terms as "style" or "brand" does not negate this requirement.
LABELING FOR BONELESS POULTRY Boneless poultry products shall
be labeled in a manner that accurately describes their actual form
and composition. The product name shall specify the form of the product
(e.g., emulsified, finely chopped, etc.), and the "kind" name of the
poultry, and if the product does not consist of natural proportions
of skin and fat, as they occur in the whole carcass, shall also include
terminology that describes the actual composition. If the product is
cooked, it shall be so labeled. For the purpose of this paragraph,
natural proportions of skin, as found on a whole turkey carcass, will
be considered to be as follows: Raw (15 percent), Cooked Turkey (20
Boneless poultry product shall not have a bone solids content of
more than 1 percent, calculated on a weight basis.
See the "Purchasing Turkey" chapter for
a chart that presents label terminology used to describe white/dark
LIGHT MEAT See SCAPULA and WHITE MEAT.
LUNCHEON MEAT A seasoned, cured and cooked product that may
be made with mechanically separated turkey, coarsely ground turkey
meat and/or chunked turkey. See also CHOPPED, CHUNKED, SECTIONED.
MDT Refers to mechanically deboned turkey.
MSP The letters stand for "mechanically separated poultry" and
refer to a poultry food product made by mechanically separating bone
from muscle tissue of carcasses and parts of poultry carcasses. The
USDA has established certain labeling requirements, use limits and
a minimum percent of bone solids content. MSP must be declared as mechanically
separated chicken or turkey.
MOIST HEAT COOKING The use of steam, water or other liquids
to transfer heat to the food. Moist heat methods are used to emphasize
the natural food flavors. These include: simmering, boiling, poaching
MOLDED See FORMED.
NATURAL Used to indicate the product contains no artificial
flavor, color ingredient, chemical preservative or other artificial
or synthetic ingredient. In addition, the product and any ingredients
used in the product can be no more than minimally processed. This definition
must accompany the natural claim.
Acceptable processing includes:
a. Processing to make the food edible or safe (e.g., cooking, smoking,
b. Physical processes that maintain the natural state of the raw
product (e.g., separating the whole body turkey into parts, grinding
The word "natural" may also appear as an adjective for turkey
breast, referring to the shape of the breast (e.g., "natural shape"),
made from the whole muscle.
NETTED Identity's the roast as being netted.
NITRITES Sodium nitrites are allowed for use in the curing
process of further-processed turkey products, such as ham or frankfurters.
Smaller quantities of sodium nitrites can be used to achieve faster
curing as well as desired development of flavor and color. Nitrites
are added in parts per million (ppm) and are used to lengthen shelf
life, ensure against the development of botulism and retard the
development of rancidity during storage. The FDA has ruled nitrite
use in the curing process is safe and potential risks are outweighed
by known benefits. See also CURED.
NO ANTIBIOTICS The term "no antibiotics added" may be
used on poultry labels if sufficient documentation is provided
by the producer to the USDA/FSIS demonstrating animals were raised
NO HORMONES Hormones are not allowed in raising of poultry.
Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used
on the poultry labels unless it is followed by a statement that
says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."
ORGANIC The term "organic" has not yet been defined
by the USDA, although the government is working on a definition.
Until the definition is final, USDA is permitting certain poultry
products to be labeled "certified organic by (name of certifying
entity)." The label must be pre-approved by USDA and the claim
must meet certain basic criteria. The certifying entity must have
standards that define what constitutes an "organically produced" product
and a system for ensuring that the products meet those standards.
OVEN PREPARED Label that defines the product is fully
cooked and ready to eat.
OVEN READY Label that defines the product is ready-to-cook.
OVAL SHAPE See "D" SHAPE.
OYSTER MEAT An oyster shell-shaped piece of dark turkey
meat, often called the "eye" or "loin" of the dark turkey meat.
The top of each thigh muscle is anchored into these two indentations
in the turkey backbone. If the thigh is cut carefully at the joint,
the oyster meat will remain intact. If the thigh is pulled from
the body, some of the oyster meat will be removed with the thigh
meat. Turkeys of 20 pounds or more will yield close to three ounces
of oyster meat.
PAN ROASTED PRODUCT GROUP Further processed turkey products
that have a lower, more natural physical profile, than most other
processed turkey products. They are, typically, part oven browned
or oil browned to give the " just out of the oven appearance." They
may be more expensive and of better quality than some other turkey
PASTRAMI, TURKEY Cured and smoked turkey product. May
contain turkey skin, may be chunked and formed. Surface may be
topped with cracked peppercorns and/or caramel coloring.
PATTY OR PATTIE, TURKEY Often used as part of a name identifying
a product that has been shaped in round, flat forms. May contain
binders, extenders and other approved ingredients, such as seasonings
PLANK SHAPE See FOOTBALL SHAPE.
POULTRY PRODUCT This term refers to any poultry carcass
or part thereof, or any product made wholly or in part from any
PRESSED See FORMED.
PROCESS Process, used as a verb, means to conduct any
operation or combination of operations, whereby poultry is slaughtered,
eviscerated, canned, salted, stuffed, cured, cooked, rendered,
boned, cut up or otherwise manufactured or processed. The term "process" does
not refer to freezing of poultry products, except when freezing
is incidental to operations otherwise classed as "processing" under
RAW RTC ROAST Ready-to-Cook Turkey Roast, raw, boneless.
Can be breast only or breast/thigh combination.
READY-TO-COOK POULTRY Slaughtered poultry free from protruding
pin feathers and vestigial feathers; from which the head, feet,
crop, oil gland, trachea, esophagus, entrails, lungs and mature
reproductive organs have been removed; and which is suitable for
cooking without need of further processing. Ready-to-cook poultry
also means any cut-up or disjointed portions of poultry or other
parts of poultry, such as breast meat, thigh meat, roasts, etc.
ROASTED Denotes a method of cooking and not necessarily
the appearance of finished product. When roasted is used with a
product name, the product is cooked by a dry heat method. However,
such cooking may take place in the presence of humidity when added
for facilitating heat transfer or efficiency. When a product is
placed in a casing, the casing must be either porous or perforated
to allow drainage of cooked out juices. Alternatively, a wrapping
that is non-porous may be turned down or removed for the final
portion of cooking.
ROTISSERIE A smaller turkey roast, usually breast meat,
with topical seasoning for flavor and appearance. Can be used on
rotisserie or roasted in oven.
ROUND SHAPE Name reflects shape of product formed from
SALAMI, TURKEY Products labeled "turkey salami" may be
one of three types: dry, cooked or cotto.
Dry Salami May be smoked, contain extenders and binders
as permitted by general red meat sausage standards. Must have the
appearance of traditional dry salami as well as a moisture content
of no more than 10 percent water.
Cooked Salami Cured and cooked sausage that must comply
with red meat standards for cooked sausage products (i.e., other
than frankfurter-bologna class). May be smoked. Generally coarsely
ground and highly spiced. May contain extenders and binders as
permitted by general sausage standards. Label must differentiate
it from dry salami with such words as "cooked salami" or "cotto
Cotto Salami Cooked salami that is generally characterized
by garlic, whole peppercorns and turkey hearts.
SALT Some labels include the phrase "no salt added." When
this term is noted, there was no added salt used in the formulation
of the product and no ingredients containing salt were added. The
term "salt" refers only to sodium chloride. See also SODIUM.
SAUSAGE, BULK There are no published regulatory standards
for turkey sausage; the general sausage standards are being applied
through label approval systems to assure consistency in identification.
The product name on the label must include the word "turkey."
Fresh Sausage Must be made with fresh or frozen
turkey and may contain turkey and meat by-products.
Cooked Sausage Is generally cured and may be smoked.
SAUSAGES, LINK Includes frankfurters, hot dogs, wieners,
bratwurst, breakfast-type links, corn dogs, Polish and kielbasa
sausages. Most are made from mechanically deboned turkey meat or
coarsely ground dark turkey meat.
SCAPULA Light meat located next to the breast and wing
- but not part of either - is called scapula. When attached to
the breast, it is considered breast meat.
SECTIONED See CHOPPED.
SELF-BASTING Whole body turkeys and turkey products that
have been injected with a combination of vegetable oil or broth
and flavorings. See also TURKEY CONTAINING SOLUTIONS.
SKIN The poultry products listed in the table that follows
shall have no more than the percent of skin specified, when raw:
- Boneless turkey breast or boneless turkey breast roll: 14 percent
- Boneless turkey thigh or boneless turkey thigh roll: 8 percent
- Boneless turkey or turkey roll: 15 percent
SLAB SHAPE See "D" SHAPE.
SMOKE FLAVORING OR ARTIFICIAL SMOKE FLAVORING Must be
noted on the label and in the ingredient statement when added as
an ingredient in the formula of a poultry product. See also SMOKED.
SMOKED Turkey must be labeled "smoked" when it is processed
using smoke generated from hardwood, sawdust, corn cobs or natural
smoke flavoring applied to the surface (with or without heat).
Smoking requires a minimum internal temperature of 155ºF. See also HICKORY
SMOKED and SMOKE FLAVORING.
SODIUM Sodium nitrite and sodium chloride (salt) play
an important role in the curing process due to the preservative
effect. They help to extend significantly the shelf life of cured
products. In recent years, processors have made great strides in
voluntarily reducing the amount of sodium used in the curing process.
Low Sodium Defines a food that has 140 milligrams
(mg) or less of sodium per Reference Amount. For main dishes, must
contain 140 milligrams or less of sodium per 100 grams.
Very Low Sodium Defines a food that provides 35
milligrams (mg) or less of sodium per Reference Amount.
TAVERN SHAPE See "D" SHAPE.
TENDER Any strip of poultry breast meat. In the turkey
industry, tenderloins are sometimes referred to as "tenders."
TENDERLOIN The inner pectoral muscle that lies adjacent
to the turkey's rib cage, parallel to the breast bone.
TURKEY CONTAINING SOLUTIONS Self basting whole body turkeys
and raw turkey products that have been injected with broth and/or
fat-based solutions to enhance flavor and moisture content. The
amount and composition of these solutions are regulated by the
government and must be identified on the product package. These
solutions commonly include:
- Broth with seasonings.
- Vegetable oil and solids with seasonings and flavor enhancers.
- Butter with seasonings and flavor enhancers.
According to government regulation, raw bone-in turkey product
or whole body turkey injected with up to 3 percent (of product
weight) solution or boneless products injected with up to 8 percent
solution may be labeled "Basted," "Marinated," "Added for Flavoring" or
other similar terms.
If greater amounts of solution are added, the method of addition
and amount of solution must be stipulated on the label (e.g., "Injected
with up to 12 percent solution of water, salt and phosphates").
These products may not be termed "Basted" or "Marinated."
Light Turkeys All turkeys weighing less than 16
Heavy Turkeys All turkeys weighing 16 pounds or
more. The weights refer to the bird at the point of inspection.
USE BY See CODE DATE.
WHITE MEAT Meat from the breast, wing or scapula of turkey.
It also refers to breast trim or white trim. No skin is included.
WHITE/DARK Roast made of breast meat and thigh meat, usually
in natural proportion to turkey: 60/40 white to dark meat.
YOUNG TURKEY Turkeys of either sex that are less than
8 months of age.