Survey finds branded meat products pumped full of water

UK - Consumers are likely to react badly to a new UK survey of processed meats, which found that trusted companies such as Bernard Matthews, Mattessons and Ye Olde Oak sell meat products that contain an estimated 10 to 20 per cent added water, writes Anthony Fletcher.

One extreme example was a can of Ye Olde Oak ham, found to be just 55 per cent meat padded out with water, along with ‘pork protein’ (gelatine), salt, sugar and five additives.

The survey found added water in bacon, ham, chicken, lamb, turkey, sausages and hot dogs. The water is added by soaking, tumbling and even injection, and typically held in place by phosphate additives or other ingredients such as starch or gelatine.

Other examples from the UK Food Commission’s Food Magazine survey included Bernard Matthews Wafer Thin American Fried Chicken that was just 62 per cent meat; ASDA ‘traditional style’ Irish recipe sausages that were only 37 per cent meat; Ye Olde Oak Hot Dogs that contained less than 50 per cent meat (49 per cent chicken and pork, excluding added collagen and fat) and lamb and turkey ‘ham’, both made by Bernard Matthews, which were 86 per cent meat and 60 per cent meat respectively.

The ingredients lists showed that all of these products were pumped up with added water.

“Many shoppers are unaware that processed meats can contain anything from 10 per cent to 30 pre cent added water,” said Ian Tokelove, spokesperson for the Food Commission.

calendar icon 27 April 2005
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