October 6, 2006



Messing with meat
by Jim Hightower

You probably aren't aware of it, but the big meat conglomerates are now charging meat prices for water.

Up to 20 percent of the volume of your supermarket steak, pork chop or drumstick is most likely H2O, plus a nice dose of salt and chemicals. These are being injected into the meats by industry, which even has a tasty-sounding term for the rip off: "deep marination."

Believe it or not, Cargill, Wal-Mart and the other corporate purveyors of these adulterated meats say they are doing it as a favor to you, asserting that they are "flavoring" the meat! As a pork processor so insultingly put it: "This way we make sure consumers have a pleasurable eating experience, even if they do a poor job of cooking the meat."

Well, golly, first of all, meat is supposed to have its own flavor — what happened to that? Second of all, there's nothing pleasurable about learning that watered-down meat can cost more than... well, meat. Third of all, at a time when America's doctors are calling on food processors to cut the salt they've been adding to our meals, the deep marination process can quadruple the amount of salt in poultry, beef and pork.

Yes, says the industry, but, it's all up to the consumer, for we label the product with such language as, "boneless chicken breast with up to 20 percent of flavoring solution of water, spices, sugar, and phosphates." But New York Times investigator Marian Burros found that this labeling is either in teensie type — or doesn't exist at all on the packages. Also, noting that today's industrial meat doesn't have much taste to begin with, Burros found the water- injected meats to be even more tasteless — unless you count the salt.

Visit your supermarket manager and demand that your meat not be watered, salted and chemicalized. Better yet, seek out local markets or meat producers who don't have any injection needles lying around...and offer real meat to you.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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