I read an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about the additives manufacturer’s sneak into “healthy” foods. As most people reading this blog may already know, the word “natural” is not regulated by the FDA (unlike the word “organic” which is regulated). Therefore, food manufacturers can use the word however they please. For example, packaged chicken labeled 100% Natural can contain added water and salt (and a seaweed extract that helps the meat retain the added water), none of which are “natural” to the chicken. These additives serve to “plump” up the chicken to make it more appealing and so customers think they are getting a good deal. As the article points out, adding salt water became widespread when discount stores started selling food and wanted to sell chicken at uniform weights and prices. But that means consumers are paying for added salt water at chicken prices — an estimated $2 billion worth every year, according to the Truthful Labeling Coalition.

Even worse, adding salt water DRAMATICALLY increases the overall sodium content of a four-ounce serving to 200-400 mgs (untreated chicken has only 45-60 mgs of sodium).

So, what’s a chicken-lover to do?? First, check for small print — poultry producers must mention the added ingredients on the package. Secondly, check the nutrition label — if the sodium is high, the meat has been enhanced. Third, stick with organic!!

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2 Comments for this entry

  1. Gameday Housing says:

    That’s sick! $2 billion a year is a good incentive to plump up the chicken…

  2. Jeannie says:

    I know – I noticed that with the chicken when I had to be on that low iodine diet in late Feb, early March…..needed chicken with as little salt as possible, because in America – you have no idea if the salt they use has iodine in it! I was AMAZED by all the salt – pretty much stuck to produce and the kosher aisle 🙂

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