When is Meat not Meat?

Written by Changing Habits

September 22, 2010

Q. When is meat not meat?  A. When it is a composite or “enhanced” meat?


A composite or “enhanced” meat could have the following ingredients; beef soy protein, thickener (1422, 407), emulsifier (450), gelling agent (508), salt and flavour (flavour added because it doesn’t taste like meat).

I always thought that this meat would normally be found in fast food and boxed food items but what astounded me recently is that many supermarkets and some butchers may also use some of these ingredients. It is called “enhanced” or “value added” meat but what you are really paying for is refined salt, water and additives.

When you buy a frozen chicken you may not know you are paying about $5/kg for water, salt and additives but 10% of the bird is exactly that.

You may think you are avoiding refined salt and additives by cooking at home but enhanced meat often sold with terms like “lightly marinated” should be avoided.

Recently I saw a label in Woolworths that said “Fresh Whole Chicken” but it was only 84% chicken. Another item was “Pork – Always Tender”, it was only 88% pork.  

There are no regulations governing how much sodium, additives and water can be added to “enhanced” meat products, as long as they are listed on the ingredients.

So this is a good month to start reading your meat, chicken and pork ingredients and perhaps start buying at your local butcher and question them as to whether their meat is enhanced or is simply meat with nothing added.

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