USDA: Make It More Obvious When Meat Is 'Enhanced'

Most shoppers don't know when their meat has been pumped full of sodium.
Are you sure you know what's in here? (Photo: Getty Images).
Jul 25, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

There's a reason that pork roast, chicken breast, or steak might taste a bit saltier than you intended: unbeknownst to most consumers, almost 90 percent of pork, 30 percent of poultry, and 15 percent of beef on the market is injected with a liquid solution before it hits store shelves. 

The American Meat Institute says that "enhancing solutions" are used "so that lean cuts stay moist when they are cooked."

But food safety advocates have slammed the practice, saying it artificially increases the weight of meat products—and therefore the price. They also argue that the practice is misleading and confusing for consumers who may be trying to cut back on their sodium intake. 

And the USDA has got their back.

Under a proposed rule unveiled last week, the USDA would establish "common, easy-to-understand names for raw meat and poultry products that include injections, marinades or have otherwise incorporated added solutions which may not be visible to the consumer."

Currently, enhancing solutions need to be listed somewhere on the packaging, but the proposed rule would require them to be displayed more prominently. 

You can click here to read the entire proposed rule. 

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