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Labeling Pork in the supermarket

  • e_bone May 18, 2013 05:42 AM
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I will sound a bit like a crank and I suppose I am but I'm more curious than I am "outraged" here:

My local Hy-Vee grocery store (a fairly large chain) only sells Hormel "always tender" pork products. These products are 10-12% non-meat: injected with a marinade containing water, salt, flavorings, chemicals. They also carry injected beef but do offer natural beef alternatives.

As I'd rather not buy this processed meat I don't shop there for pork. A while back I posted a note on their website suggesting that they carry an alternative to their processed pork and their "butcher" (do you really need to be called a butcher if your job is to re-package pre-processed meat products??) called me the next day (which is really good customer service IMO) and promised that they'd start carrying natural pork as well as the Hormel products. Nice!

I found that over the next few weeks it was hit and miss. Sometimes I'd find the natural pork but most times it was missing. Sadness. I let it go but last night I found that they were repackaging the Hormel products in "plain" packaging.. so it looked like "regular" pork. It was simply labeled "pork sirloin chops". The butcher confirmed it was not natural pork.

It seemed common sense to me that there would be a labeling law that states if you are selling meat that is 10% NOT meat that you must label it as such. I searched a bit on the government sites but couldn't find an answer. Does anyone know for sure if this practice of not labeling additives is legal?

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  1. Here's USDA's fact sheet on water in meats:

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/W...

    There is something in the works but no final ruling expected until next year (unless I missed a report of this dying).

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/...

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Frame/FrameR...

    http://www.meatami.com/ht/d/sp/i/7144...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thank you Melanie, your link shows me exactly what I couldn't find on my own. The section on "Enhanced Meat and Poultry Products" tells me that this meat should have been labeled as such.

      Time to kick some HyVee ass! No commercials! No mercy!

    2. This is a problem at my area Krogers as well. I have no problem ingesting chemicals or unnatural substances, but I do have an issue with how pork's texture is affected by the injected solution, and also for paying 100% of the price for 90% of the meat. They have a more "natural" brand, but it's not always available, and they only carry chops - no loins or tenderloins or ribs. I just buy my pork at Sam's.

      1. But was there a friendly smile in every aisle?

        Seriously, do you have any alternatives to Hy Vee?

        I guess im lucky, all the chain supermarkets to speak of here have either organic or unprocessed meats or both.

        1. My local Safeway at least labels the chicken and turkey as injected. I rarely buy any pork there so I'm not sure if that's the case but the chicken in any form is always labeled. I agree it should be labeled.

          1. Do you have a Fareway Foods store in your area? My hometown has a Fareway, Hy-Vee, and a Walmart. (The locally owned grocer was driven out of business because the Walmart store opened up one street over from his store.)

            I have never shopped at a Fareway Foods store, but the people in my hometown seem to like the store.

            1. I agree, and as a result I almost never buy supermarket pork.

              Fortunately there are quite a few Asian and Hispanic markets in my area. I buy 90 percent of all my meats in those places. The Asian places for pork in particular, especially after one visit where I witnessed them wheeling in a flatbed dolly full of pigs ready for butchering...I knew then for sure that I was getting fresh, "un-enhanced" pork. Even better, the prices are significantly lower and the quality significantly higher than the supermarket. A crash course in Mandarin would probably allow me to have it custom-cut to boot. LOL

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Professor

                Whole Foods has great pork usually Niman Ranch. I no longer buy pork at the regular grocery store.