Monday, January 31, 2011

Buying Meat? Watch Out for Food Additives

If you're not avid label reader--or even if you are--you may not have noticed the labels on the underside of packages of fresh meat such as beef roasts, steaks, pork chops and loins and fresh chicken. At the grocery store when buying meat, I am mainly interested in the cost per pound and total cost of the package.

And just so it doesn't seem like the meat providers are trying to hoodwink us with the under-package labels, in very small print on the price label are the words, "Tenderness and moistness enhanced with up to 8 percent marinade." How kind of them.

The marinade though is not one you or I would typically use. On a bottom round roast I purchased today, the "ingredients" of the roast--ingredients? I thought it was a beef roast--are listed thus: beef, beef broth, potassium lactate, salt, potassium and sodium phosphates and natural flavor. Natural flavor? I thought the animal provided natural flavor. Who knew it had to be added? Does this sound like any marinade that's ever come from your cupboard?

Before you add a sprinkle of spice, a serving of this meat comes to you with 9 percent of your daily recommended allowance of sodium. And beef broth? That's just manufacturer speak for spiking your meat with liquid to add to its weight. Come on, it doesn't provide any benefit other than that because the liquid cooks out of the meat.

Have you wondered why when you cook hamburgers or pork chops, you'll see water in the skillet? Now you have the answer.

I don't know if the liquid is 8 percent by volume or weight. In truth, it doesn't matter to me. What I know is that I've thought I was paying X amount per pound of meat, not X amount per pound of meat and liquid. If you think bottled water is expensive, think how much that liquid injected into your meat is costing you.


  1. As someone who suffers with Epilepsy I have recently discovered that food is a trigger for my epileptic seizures. I have eliminated all Gluten, which is in just about everything, out of my diet and ironically chicken is not considered to be a Gluten product but yet causes me to seize. So this does not shock me at all and quite frankly I believe Americans suffer with so much illness specifically due to the foods we're eating or what is being fed to the animals or added to the foods. America needs to get back to the basics and start eating like our great-great grandparents did and perhaps we would be a lot healthier. Other countries do not eat the garbage we eat and we need to be mindful that it's not about quantity but rather quality.

  2. Kelley, that's interesting information about your reaction to eating chicken. I'm sorry to learn it causes your seizures, but is important information for others who are gluten intolerant.

    Countries that have embraced the Western style diet are finding increased rates of obesity and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. That ought to be enough information to give us pause.

  3. Something like 40 or so years ago I got a little insight on this. My father worked for an architectural firm. One of the many commercial projects that he worked on was a meat processing plant, in particular, bacon. This was in the mid-sixties. He came home one evening with this "amazing" story about these water injection mechanisms the plant used to increase the meat's weight. For the same reason that your article mentions the water left in a frying pan after cooking hamburger, ditto the remnants after cooking bacon. Consumers are constantly duped, so thank you for your "watchdog" style of reporting.