|Posted on Friday, August 11, 2006 - 5:17 am: || |
Really worth reading!
The Customer Wants a Juicy Steak? Just Add Water
By MARIAN BURROS
Published: August 9, 2006 NY Times Food section
EACH day it’s becoming less likely that the meat you buy in the supermarket is just meat. After spending years breeding cattle, pigs and poultry to be leaner, the food industry has been injecting meat with water, salt and chemicals to replace the flavor and restore the tenderness that was lost with the fat. Companies say the process, called enhancement or deep marination, helps shoppers by flavoring the meat so they don’t have to. It has been done to turkeys and hams for years, and to other meats since 2000. “This way we make sure consumers have a pleasurable eating experience even if they do a poor job of cooking the meat,” said Justin Hanlon, chief operating officer of Pine Ridge Farms, a pork processor in Des Moines. But the process allows the industry to charge meat prices for water; to charge the same price — sometimes more — for cheaper grades of meat; and to add more salt than many people need or want. Dr. Christine M. Bruhn, director of the center for consumer research at the University of California, Davis, said shoppers are paying for water without knowing it. In six of seven supermarkets I visited in New York, Washington and Newport, Vt., enhanced meat cost as much as untreated meat, or more. Packages of treated and untreated Shady Brook Farms skinless and boneless turkey meat were $4.99 a pound at each of two stores in Washington. The label of the enhanced product said that it contained a “10 percent solution of turkey broth, salt, and sugar” and that it had 25 grams of protein in a four-ounce serving. The untreated meat had 28 grams of protein per serving. So the actual meat in the treated turkey cost about 12 percent more a pound. At Giant supermarkets in Washington, enhanced and plain skinless and boneless chicken breasts cost $3.99 a pound. But after accounting for just the protein, the treated meat cost 13 percent more. Mark Klein, a spokesman for the meat division of Cargill, which owns Shady Brook Farms, said the price of the enhanced turkey “depends on what the market is willing to bear.” A study done for the meat industry in 2004 found that 45 percent of the pork in retail stores was enhanced, as was 23 percent of the chicken and 16 percent of the beef. The increased use of enhancement, which can quadruple the amount of sodium in meat, has coincided with calls by health professionals for the food industry to reduce much of the sodium it adds to food. In June the American Medical Association declared that the sodium content of processed foods and foods sold in restaurants should be reduced by 50 percent. The medical association also wants the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the designation of salt as a safe additive and to require a warning label on processed foods that have high levels of sodium.Meats are naturally low in sodium. But nutrition labels for enhanced meat show that they can have as much as 540 milligrams of sodium in a four-ounce portion. The federal government’s dietary guidelines say that people who have high blood pressure, African-Americans and people over 50 should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day; for them, 540 milligrams is more than a third the daily allowance. Even for those not at risk for high blood pressure, that amount constitutes almost a quarter of the allowance of 2,300 milligrams.Along with salt and water, the process can add chemicals like sodium phosphate, which helps the meat retain the added water when it is cooked, and sodium lactate or potassium lactate to extend the shelf life by inhibiting bacteria. Even with the antibacterial agents, three cases of infections with the deadly bacterium E. coli O157:H7 were tied to enhanced products that were processed through machines using fine needles to tenderize or enhance meat. The Agriculture Department last year told plants using those needles — which leave no visible trace — to adjust their safety plans to take into account the potential for contamination.The department requires any meat product with added liquid to be clearly labeled with language such as “beef tenderloin with up to 15 percent added solution’’ or “boneless chicken breast with up to 20 percent of a flavoring solution of water, spices, sugar and phosphates,’’ said Steven Cohen, a spokesman for the agency. The label must also have a nutrition-facts panel. But the labeling I saw was in very small type and often in an obscure place. The labels on some Cryovac packages of enhanced spareribs were in a folded-over portion of the packaging. On some meat products it is not there at all. The label on a package of house-brand pork chops at a Super Fresh store in Washington said it was “enhanced with up to 10 percent water, salt and sodium phosphate” but had no nutrition information. A spokesman for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, the parent of Super Fresh, said the information was above the meat case. It wasn’t, though if it had been there and not on the package, its positioning would have been a violation of federal regulations.The lack of clarity in labeling can affect millions of people on low-salt diets. But care in the reading of labels is essential for others too. Marinating, brining or use of a seasoning rub on enhanced meat often produces salty or hammy-tasting food .When I tried enhanced pork and poultry I found them tender, tasteless and salty. Modern poultry and pork don’t have much taste to begin with, and enhancement seems to dilute it even further.Many people have no choice about whether to eat enhanced meat. Custom-cut meat is being rapidly replaced in supermarkets by case-ready meat, enhanced and packaged by processors. Wal-Mart, for example, says a majority of its fresh offerings are enhanced with a 6 to 12 percent solution of water, salt, sodium phosphate and natural flavorings.
|Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2006 - 9:30 pm: || |
|Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 3:34 am: || |
Thanks, MEMorris, here's a new recommended reading book: What to Eat by Marion Nestle.
She really tells the truth as she sees it - she is a nutrition professor not afraid of the Big Food industry. I am still halfway through the book, but I feel she is one of the very few we can trust to be honest about food issues (besides Deb A, of course ).
|Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 4:01 am: || |
Here's the official web site for "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle:
|Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 9:11 am: || |
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Carol...haha!
Does this author mention MSG or aspartame, so far.
Checked the site and the book looks very good.
|Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 3:52 pm: || |
Marion Nestle also appeared in the documentary "Supersize Me" by Morgan Spurlock.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - 3:29 am: || |
Haven't completely read the chapter on additives, yet. I have emailed with her in the past after Food Politics came out. So she knows my opinion on it. She was very nice, but not quite ready to puiblicly accept the obesity-MSG link then. But since new research has come out about it, she may be ready to now. She cares very much about proper research to back up her positions and at that time, studies with animals FED MSG as opposed to injected with MSG were few.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 6:29 am: || |
The section on aspartame doesn't go into the science. She basically advises against eating artificial sweeteners. She uses sugar herself. Her approach is that whole foods are better than processed ones. I wish she would take a stand on the aspartame / MSG issue, but she just doesn't go there.
|Posted on Friday, August 18, 2006 - 8:32 am: || |
Actually, she doesn't mention MSG at all. She may have to soon, since the latest story on obesity out of China is that childhood obesity increased 28 - fold from just 1985-2000. I doubt the standard video games, sugar and calorie excuse will work here. Something more is going on and the nutritionists will have to make a paradigm shift of huge proportions. I understand their position as it was the accepted one I was taught before food was big business. However, since pharmaceutical science has progressed, so has the chemistry of neurotransmitters and nutritionists would be remiss in not examining how the food industry uses the hormones involved in hunger and desire to increase profits. If the food industry could use a GRAS additive to chemically increase consumption of foods, why would they only use Psy Ops techniques alone?
|Posted on Saturday, August 19, 2006 - 12:40 pm: || |
FDA approves viruses for treating food
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A mix of bacteria-killing viruses can be safely sprayed on cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials said Friday in granting the first-ever approval of viruses as a food additive. The combination of six viruses is designed to be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including sliced ham and turkey, said John Vazzana, president and chief executive officer of manufacturer Intralytix Inc.
For rest of article, go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Edible-Viruses.html?_r=1&oref=slogin This is what upsets me most --- quote: Consumers won't be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray, Zajac added. The Department of Agriculture will regulate the actual use of the product.
I need my own farm!
|Deb A. |
|Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 8:22 am: || |
This link about Theanine was just emailed to me. I thought I would post it here to get some of your ideas, since Theanine was discussed here recently as a glutamate blocker.
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Theanine is an amino acid, commonly found in tea (infusions of Camellia sinensis), that can produce a feeling of relaxation. Theanine produces these effects by increasing the level of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production. Theanine affects the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It also inhibits glutamic acid excitotoxicity.
Theanine is most readily available in green tea and can also be purchased as a supplement. Unusual for an amino acid, it crosses the blood-brain barrier in animal studies. It is also theorized that the GABA-binding properties of theanine reduce the caffeine buzz delivered in black tea versus that of coffee. It also promotes alpha wave production in the brain. Alpha waves are commonly associated with a state of alert relaxation. Theanine is not removed by the decaffeination process because it is not an alkaloid.
|Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 8:32 am: || |
Sorry, wrong link. This is the one I wanted to post:
L-theanine is a non-protein amino acid mainly found naturally in the green tea plant (Camellia sinensis). L-theanine is the predominant amino acid in green tea and makes up 50% of the total free amino acids in the plant. The amino acid constitutes between 1% and 2% of the dry weight of green tea leaves. L-theanine is considered the main component responsible for the taste of green tea, which in Japanese is called umami. L-theanine is marketed in Japan as a nutritional supplement for mood modulation.
L-theanine is a derivative of L-glutamic acid. It is a water-soluble solid substance with the molecular formula C7H14O3 N and a molecular weight of 160.19 daltons. L-theanine is also known as gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid, gamma-glutamylethylamide, r-glutamylethylamide, L-glutamic acid gamma-ethylamide and L-N-ethylglutamine."
The inquiry from the person who sent this involved the statement that theanine is a derivative of L-glutamic acid.
|Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 2:32 pm: || |
Here is the excerpt that caught my eye:
"Demonstrated Neuroprotection ----
Theanine has been demonstrated to cross the blood-brain barrier.8 In an epidemiological study of nearly 6,000 women living in Japan, those who consumed five or more cups of green tea a day were significantly less likely than non-tea drinkers to suffer stroke. In a follow-up to the study, researchers determined that women who routinely drank little or no green tea were more than twice as likely as heavy tea drinkers to suffer stroke or cerebral hemorrhage.15
Subsequent experiments have confirmed that theanine protects the brain from damage during ischemia, a condition in which the brain temporarily receives too little oxygen due to reduced blood flow, which may result from stroke.16 A recent Japanese study showed that theanine significantly protects the brain after an ischemic incident occurs. Using a rodent model of cerebral artery blockage, researchers injected theanine immediately before or immediately before and three hours after blood flow to an area of the rodents’ brains was interrupted. Theanine significantly decreased the amount of tissue damaged by the temporary lack of blood. The scientists concluded that theanine provided direct nerve cell protection and suggested that theanine “may be clinically useful for preventing cerebral infarction.”17
Efforts to explain this neuroprotective effect have focused on theanine’s close chemical similarity to an important neurotransmitter, glutamic acid (glutamate). Glutamate plays an important role in memory and learning. It is released by nerve cells into the extracellular space, where it normally elicits a desired response and is subsequently taken up by neurons for recycling. Interruptions in blood supply, as in stroke, interfere with this ability to recycle glutamate. Excess glutamate is released and builds up in the extracellular spaces, where it sets off a chemical chain reaction that results in neuronal death. Theanine is believed to compete with glutamate to bind with glutamate receptors, thus reducing glutamate toxicity."
|Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 3:51 pm: || |
Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 6:23 am:
Per the article linked below, admittedly by a company promoting green tea:
"L-theanine is an analog of glutamic acid,25 which is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and an integral component in the synthesis of GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter).26 Because L-theanine is structurally similar to glutamate (a form of glutamic acid most abundant in bodily fluids), it can protect the brain from toxic levels of this neurochemical by serving as a competitive antagonist on glutamate receptors, thereby shielding brain cells from glutamate-induced toxicity.25,27,28 Although glutamate is essential to brain chemistry, too much can destroy brain cells or cause degenerative brain disease. If the brain doesn’t get adequate blood flow, as in the case of ischemic stroke, glutamate concentrations surge, resulting in increases in calcium ions and free radicals, which can damage brain cells.25,28 By binding to glutamate receptors, L-theanine helps guard against neuronal death and damage,27,28 as well as vascular dementia.28 These observations are based upon in vitro and animal studies."
|Posted on Monday, August 21, 2006 - 10:04 am: || |
Thanks for the important input. You guys are the best!
I have been toying with the idea of buying some of the powdered theanine from www.needs.com after reading about it. It may be worth an experiment....not that I will ever give up avoiding MSG like I do now. But I do wonder if theanine might help us in some way.
|Posted on Monday, August 21, 2006 - 5:43 pm: || |
I just received this from the person who sent the original inquiry. It may be that she used too high a dosage, since everyone is different, but trying it would most likely have to involve some experimenting.
I took a total of 4 doses of the L-theanine and I had a terrible time until it worked out of my system. The first 3 doses were ok and I thought I had found a miracle. Felt relaxed.The amount I was told I could take was 6 -100mg per day if needed. I used the powder from Byond-a-Century. I started having one panic attack after another and my muscles went crazy.
Let me know if it agrees with you and others. It's not for me and I'm not willing to
try it again."
|Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006 - 5:01 am: || |
http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/fy0604/2004100663.html -- Might be worth reading this book --- it has a chapter on theanine overdose. http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v3=1&DB=local&CMD=010a+2004100663&CNT=10+records+per+page
Neuroscience uses theanine in several of its products: https://neurorelief.com/newsletterarchive.php?issue=237