Feb 05 2013
Your Chicken Is Pumped Full Of Weird Liquids
By Pauli Poisuo, Cracked
There’s nothing as appetizing as a nice, plump, juicy chicken carcass, roasted to a golden sheen. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it. But as much as everything with a kind of indescribable taste is said to “taste like chicken,” it’s kind of ironic that you probably don’t actually know what real chicken tastes like, because …
For decades, the vast majority of our “fresh” chicken [in the UK] has been infused with a whole bunch of other substances, up to and including beef and pork waste. That’s bad news for Hindus, Muslims, and anyone else who is choosing the chicken dish from the menu because contact with beef or pork is expressly forbidden by their religion.
But even when the chicken is untainted by cloven-hoofed contaminants, you’re still likely eating a bird that’s pumped full of chicken stock, brine, and “flavor enhancers.” It’s called plumping, and it’s been standard practice in chicken production since around the ’70s. The industry explains that it’s to add juiciness to chicken that would otherwise be too lean and chewy. Sure, they neglect to mention the fact that the chicken is stringy and inferior because they’ve deliberately bred it to be faster and cheaper to manufacture, but at least they’re not technically lying, at least not at this point.
But food companies often blatantly overdo the required amounts to “plump” a chicken to tenderness by pumping their fowl up until the extra substances make up as much as 30 percent of the total weight, and we’re sure it’s just coincidence that chicken is priced by the pound.
But the weight issue is just the beginning. The industry describes the plumping process as “completely harmless,” in the same way a marathon runner’s nuts could be described as “pleasantly savory.” Plumping can up to quadruple the meat’s sodium levels, leaving it riddled with unnecessary salts. All attempts to “improve” the plumping formula to fix the sodium problem have led to a giant spiral of more and more crap being thrown into the mix, to the point where you probably don’t know what percentage of your chicken is even kind of chicken.
Of course, you can try to avoid it by only buying chicken that has “100 PERCENT NATURAL” printed on the label, and they will laugh at your cute attempts to cheat the system. Due to a technicality in regulations, all chicken — plumped or not — can be labelled as a completely natural product … as long as the ingredients in the plumping solution can be described as “natural” without anyone bursting into laughter.
Lynn Elliott - 27 BeeBucks
The story is enlightening. And though glad for the information it makes me wonder, who do I trust for a wholesome food supply? Please continue to educate. Thanks,
Gig Harbor, WA
PS What if the chicken etc is labeled "ORGANIC"?
I first learned about plumping in the Seafood industry. You are legally allowed to soak the scallops in fresh water. 3 cups of scallops grow to 4. If unscrupulous people hand this they will soak them again to gain another cup. I finally figured out they were doing similar with poultry when my turkeys that I hadn't salted cooked up to salty to even for my taste.
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