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Apr 10, 2010 06:23 PM

Can smoked turkey breast deli slices be "processed" meat?

I define "processed" meat as something like hot dogs and salami where everything is ground up with spices and re-formed, as opposed to something like roast beef or pastrami. I always assumed smoked turkey breast deli slices were just a large turkey breast cured/smoked and then sliced. I read the labeling on a sliced turkey breast package today and it read "Turkey Breast (with white meat added)". The ingredients listed "Turkey Breast and Turkey White Meat ... Hydrolized Soy Protein". Two types of meat, along with MSG, leads me to believe this is a processed product. Does anyone know more about this? Also, isn't breast meat the same as white meat?

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  1. Consider that they took a processed breast and smoked it. And Why not? It's deli after ALL. Mass production.

    1. There is white meat on the thigh, the leg, the wing, and some on the back too.

      White is a color, not an anatomical part.

      1. yes, it's processed. they grind the meat with the other ingredients and compress it into that "breast" shape.

        and as gordeaux stated, you'll find white meat on other parts of the turkey - it's not limited to the breast.

        1. IMO, there are "grades" of this "stuff" (sorry, I will NOT EVER call it turkey, nor will I call it 'deli' turkey.)
          For national brands, I'd say sara lee is less processed than say oscar meyer or buddig.
          There are a few brands that seem to be less processed than others. When sara lee goes on sale at my local stores for under 4.00/lb, I will buy the low sodium version, and be happy with it for the price. I will NOT buy oscar meyer, or buddig, or any other version of that stuff that, right off the bat, is in a rectangle, or round - not even a natural shape. Um, sorry, no dice. I've had turkey before. There is no round part. There is no rectangular part. I really have a big problem with them, and places like subway being allowed to call that stuff "Turkey Breast." It is most assuredly NOT turkey breast. If you were served that stuff on Thanksgiving, you'd be appalled.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gordeaux

            yes exactly.

            Some of it is ground and caked together. Some of it is sort of smashed together bits of turkey, then there are the whole turkey breasts, some of them with all kinds of nasty stuf injected, others are more natural.

          2. interesting that you don't consider adding chemicals to meat as 'processing' too.
            it seems that you are only considering physical manipulation (grinding, forming, etc) as processing.
            under your definition, meatloaf mix would be considered to be processed but a whole turkey breast that is shot through with chemical additives would not.

            2 Replies
            1. re: westsidegal

              I would consider that to be "processed", too. I wasn't trying to give the term "processed" a complete definition, rather I was just trying to define some terms for the purposes of stating my question which specifically had to do with grinding and re-forming "deli" meats. Somehow I had gone through my life up till this point believing you could produce perfectly round turkey breast slices without grinding and re-forming. I just wanted to think about the issue one step at a time in my head.

              1. re: bmorecupcake

                don't know what you mean when you say "one step at a time,"
                but practically everything in any deli case is processed.
                more alarmingly, even some of the meat in the fresh case is somewhat processed in that it is shot through with chemicals. for the most part, the fresh case processed meat doesn't need to be labeled as such.

                also, let's say you were to get your hands on some pasture-raised, organic, completely additive-free, grass-fed beef and you decided to grind that beef up into hamburger meat. the grinding and patty formation does NOT make it processed. it doesn't matter a whit if you have it as steak or as hamburger.

                when the researchers at Harvard recently published about the dangers of processed meats relative to those of unprocessed meat they were NOT talking about the physical form of the meat as the distinguishing factor that differentiated the two.