March 30, 2006

Wholesome, Fresh Meat? (Or was it soaked in salt water?)

Fresh Meat? Odds are it is Adulterated
The old feeder went into Omaha for supplies last weekend. I had a chance to check out the meat counters at a number of stores for one of my pet peeves: supposedly fresh cuts of meat that have been adulterated with the addition of salt water. And the percentage is up since last I griped about the practice. You and I both know why much of the meat sold in Omaha these days is 'injected' with a salty solution amounting to 10% - 15% of the final weight. Salt water is cheaper than meat. It is cheaper than beef, pork or chicken; and it is regularly added to them all. In many of the stores I visited over the weekend, you could not buy untreated meat. All of the 'fresh' meat was watered-down.

The reason this practice is legal: the adulteration is disclosed in very tiny print, in some cases located on the underside of the package. In fact, some packers actually have the nerve to tout this salt water soak as an enhancement. I say it isn't any good for the meat at all; it changes the way it cooks, screws up normal seasoning with the added salt, and affects the texture adversely. Injecting salt, msg or sodium nitrate into meat certainly isn't good for us consumers. At least not those of us as need to watch our sodium intake. The only thing this nasty business enhances is the bottom line of the crooks that sell it.

I'm not the only one concerned. Some local grocers, like No Frills, have advertised that they don't add anything to their fresh meats. Omaha Channel 42 KPTM TV did this consumer awareness piece in December of last year, Prime Assignment: Pumped Up Meat. Folks in the UK have been talking about the increased amounts of adulteration there, where the additives were found amounting up to 30% of product weight.

I don't know if this business bothers you as much as it does me. Maybe you like salty, flabby meat. Perhaps you like to pay steak prices for water. Would you buy any other product that was 'watered down' or 'cut' if you could get the real thing, pure and natural? Would you believe that the diluted product was enhanced in any way?

Would you buy this Scotch?

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