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SALT: They sneak it in everywhere!
Sadly that is a true statement. Since David and I have cut back on our sodium intake, we are very sensitive to salty foods.
It is amazing what a difference cutting back on sodium can make. What is even more amazing is the amount of sodium you can find in food. And that is even if you don’t add any to it.
I cannot count the number of times I was fooled into thinking I over-salted my meat dishes. I tell you I was shocked when I found out that I didn’t. It turns out the meat I purchased from the grocery store already had salt injected into it. That’s right, some meats you buy from the grocery store have salt brine injected into them!!
Injecting meat with salt is a practice called “plumping”, “enhancing” or “injecting”. This practice began by meat companies because people were not cooking their meat properly. People were tired of their dry cooked meat. This internal “brining” makes the meat more fool-proof to overcooking, and appears to be juicier. This is more appealing to consumers.
Not only does this practice add sodium to your meat, but “plumping” also effects the package weight. This means you purchase meat that actually would weigh less had it not been injected with the brine solution. This, in turn, puts more money back into the producer’s pocket.
Relax, very few types of meat at the grocery store are brined with salt. Read the label! WATCH OUT for the words like “Seasoned” “Solution,” “Basted,” “Added” or “Injected.
The USDA finally decided consumers should know when a meat product is composed of 40 percent water-salt solution. The Department of Agriculture, at last, has addressed the common industry practice of pumping ingredients into meat and supporting adequate labeling. According to NPR.Org, 30% of poultry, 15% of beef and 90% of pork contain the added solution.
Until 2014, guidelines did not make it clear to consumers when meat had been treated. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), meats may contain solutions that “can have more than five times as much sodium as occurs naturally in those foods”. Pretty disturbing, isn’t it?
I should have known something was up when I cooked meat, DID NOT season with salt and it still came out of the oven tasting salty. The USDA’s move to require prominent labeling of “added solution” on raw meat products is clearly needed. Now that I know to watch out for injected meats, I will never have meat so salty I cannot eat it.
I hope this makes you aware of meat packages so that you do not get suckered into thinking you over-salted your supper too. Remember, it’s always best to buy local meats and veggies, but when you can’t read the packaging!!
I should have known better (sigh)…