Sunday, April 04, 2010
Nutrition Researcher Pushes For Change
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (April 4, 2010) — The wording on labels of various solution-treated pork and poultry available in Walmart stores across the country has come under fire for being too small for easy readability. The wording is also easily distorted due to moisture, handling and packaging material issues. According to noted nutrition researcher and FoodSmart Alliance founder Diana Hunter, the situation not only creates inconvenience for those who inadvertently choose the meats due to their inconspicuous labeling, but also poses health risks for consumers.
The meats in question read "Tenderness and Moistness Enhanced with up to a 12% solution" in fine print on the labels. Far from making the meats tender, however, Hunter notes that the solution causes them to have a rubbery texture and require a longer cooking time than those that are untreated.
"Because these meats tend to take longer to cook, it raises the potential for them to be eaten partially raw or undercooked, which in turn raises the potential for foodborne illnesses," states Hunter.
Hunter also cites the fact that while Americans are being strongly advised to cut back on salt intake, they don't need it pre-added to their meats.
"How is the public supposed to cut back on salt when it's being added to foods it isn't expected to be in, especially when it's not obvious on the label?" she asks. "The majority of these meats have more than quadruple the amount of sodium found in untreated pork and poultry. It's a serious issue. "
When marinades, sauces, or spice mixtures containing sodium are added to the meat by consumers, the sodium content increases further. The result is an even higher health risk for certain sectors of the public.
"This is particularly scary for people with high blood pressure, especially those who are elderly and have less capacity for taste due to diminishing tastebuds, and for those with congestive heart failure and certain liver and kidney diseases," says Hunter.
The fact that Walmart has a large following of grocery consumers, including those who buy meats at the company's Sam's Club warehouses, heightens these concerns.
"Walmart needs to prominently and clearly display the fact that a meat has been treated with a salt-based solution so consumers are readily aware of it and can easily make educated choices," says Hunter. "It's the responsible thing to do. "
Calls made to Walmart's corporate headquarters on Wednesday regarding these issues were not returned as of Friday afternoon.
Fort Lauderdale, FL