Meat, poultry and additives

Best meat to buy
Free from hormones, antibiotics or preservatives
Raised in clean and humane conditions, receiving adequate fresh air and space to move freely
Fed food that contains no harmful additives (routine antibiotics or animal by-products)

Concerns about Antibiotics in Meat

Natural meat or poultry, what does it mean?

Does natural mean organic?

No hormones claim on the label of pork and poultry, should you pay more?

How old is "YOUNG TURKEY"?

What does it mean "BASTED or SELF BASTED" on the label?

When chicken is labeled "FRESH", what does it mean?

What substances or ingredients can be listed as "natural flavor," "flavor," or "flavorings" rather than by a specific common or usual name?

Can the terms "dried meat or poultry stocks," "dried broth," "meat extracts," and "dried beef plasma" be listed on meat and poultry labels as "natural flavorings"?

If "pork extract" is added to a processed meat product for flavoring, can it be listed as "flavoring" in the ingredient statement or will it be identified as a "pork product"?

How will I know if there is monosodium glutamate (MSG) in a processed meat or poultry product?

Are MSG and hydrolyzed protein related?

Can hydrolyzed animal or vegetable protein be identified as "natural flavoring" on the label?





Concerns about antibiotics in meat
There is a growing concern over evidence that antibiotic use in animal feeds is causing antibiotics to lose effectiveness in fighting diseases. A major source of antibiotics overuse is through livestock production, as up to 70 percent of the antibiotics used in America are routinely given to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle. Many of these antibiotics administered to animals are used for treating human diseases, and those bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. People are at a greater risk of getting infections that are resistant to treatment. In the year 2000, manufacturers were ordered to discontinue using fluoroquinolone antibiotics in poultry as a way to address this health threat.



Natural meat or poultry, what does it mean?
Natural - a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as - no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.) All raw chicken and pork do not have artificial ingredient and color added so there is no sense to pay extra for the name "natural"
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/lablterm.htm



Does natural mean organic?
No. Natural and organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don't confuse these terms with "organic." Only food labeled "organic" has been certified as meeting USDA organic standards.



No hormones claim on the label of pork and poultry, should you pay more?
Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."
The term "no hormones administered" may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/lablterm.htm



How old is "YOUNG TURKEY"?
Turkeys of either sex that are less than 8 months of age according to present regulations.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/lablterm.htm



What does it mean "BASTED or SELF BASTED" on the label?
Bone-in poultry products that are injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavor enhancers and other approved substances must be labeled as basted or self basted. The maximum added weight of approximately 3% solution before processing is included in the net weight on the label. Label must include a statement identifying the total quantity and common or usual name of all ingredients in the solution, e.g., "Injected with approximately 3% of a solution of ____________ (list of ingredients)."
Use of the terms "basted" or "self-basted" on boneless poultry products is limited to 8% of the weight of the raw poultry before processing.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/lablterm.htm



When chicken is labeled "FRESH", what does it mean?
The definition of "fresh" refers to poultry whose internal temperature has never been below 26 F.
"Frozen" means that temperature of raw poultry is 0 F or below.
Labels of raw poultry products whose temperature has ever been below 26 F, but above 0 F, are not required to bear any specific, descriptive labeling terms, including what previously called "hard chilled" or "previously hard chilled."
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/lablterm.htm



What substances or ingredients can be listed as "natural flavor," "flavor," or "flavorings" rather than by a specific common or usual name?
Ingredients such as ginger, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder, and garlic oil may be listed as one of the three categories mentioned above. They may be designated as "natural flavors" because they are substances used chiefly for flavor. They do not make a nutritional contribution, are not derived from an animal species, and there are no health concerns linked to them.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp



Can the terms "dried meat or poultry stocks," "dried broth," "meat extracts," and "dried beef plasma" be listed on meat and poultry labels as "natural flavorings"?
No. Substances derived from animal sources must be identified as to the species of origin on the label and be consistent with the definition established by Federal regulation. For example, the listing on the label would read "dried chicken stock," "lamb extract," or "dried beef plasma."
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp



If "pork extract" is added to a processed meat product for flavoring, can it be listed as "flavoring" in the ingredient statement or will it be identified as a "pork product"?
"Pork extract" will appear in the ingredient statement on the label. It is defined as a meat product by Federal regulation and will always be identified by its common or usual name.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp



How will I know if there is monosodium glutamate (MSG) in a processed meat or poultry product?
MSG is classified as a flavor enhancer by Federal regulation. When it is added to a product, it must be identified as "monosodium glutamate" on the label.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp



Are MSG and hydrolyzed protein related?
Yes. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It is found in virtually all food and, in abundance, in food that is high in protein, including meat, poultry, cheeses, and fish.
Hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling. Labeling is required when MSG is added as a direct ingredient.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp



Can hydrolyzed animal or vegetable protein be identified as "natural flavoring" on the label?
No. FSIS regulation requires that animal or vegetable proteins must be specifically identified in the ingredient statement on the labels. The source of the protein must also be disclosed. On the label, you will read "hydrolyzed wheat protein" or "hydrolyzed milk protein," not just hydrolyzed protein.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp
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