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Red meat processors immediately objected to the rule. The American Meat Institute called it "wasteful" and "unnecessary" and said it would cause prices to go up for consumers.
Consumer groups have been pressuring the department to crack down on the practice for several years, saying the added ingredients are unhealthy.
"Who wants to pay $4.99 a pound for the added water and salt?" said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Besides cheating customers financially, `enhancing' meat and poultry delivers a stealth hit of sodium."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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