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Sodium phosphates in my meat???

by (8858)
Updated about 23 hours ago
Created January 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Bought some marked-down pork shoulder a while ago and took it out of the freezer tonight. I look at the label...says it contains up to 12% water, salt, and sodium phosphates...something about how it makes the meat moist and tender. Somehow I missed this when I was in the store.

Now I'm allergic to gluten and soy, so I have more than just an objection on principle to weird chemicals that have no business being in my meat. A quick search says that the FDA deems it "safe." Why am I still worried?

I've got the stuff in the crockpot with a bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt, some chardonnay, and 6 or 7 dried chile peppers and I must say it's beginning to smell quite good, phosphates and all. Going off to play soccer and it'll be ready for me when I get home, if I dare.

Should I eat this pork or toss it?

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17083 · October 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

+1 I'd avoid CAFO pork for the paylean rather than the "added water." The downside, is, of course, it makes it heavier and you're paying more for CAFO pork by weight than you would otherwise. Translation, we the corporation can add a little salt and increase profits!!!!1! Whenever I look at ingredients and see stuff like this, I visualize a little trollface on the label. It's dishonest. I'd rather have real pork, not "lean" crap that's been fed paylean and other nasties - I'd rather pay much more for pork that's been allowed to eat acorns and hasn't been exposed to industrial nasties.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I think it's different. Anyway I ate the stuff and I'm still alive. Live and learn...

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2099 · January 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM

When I was a kid, 40 years ago, pork was wonderfully fatty, juicey and delicious. Then they started to breed it leaner and leaner, to the point where they've bred it so lean that a pork loin roast cooks up as dry as punk if it isn't brined. I used to love pork, but not anymore. I rarely buy it anymore because its just too lean.

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1304 · January 26, 2011 at 4:08 AM

Really, let us know if you have any bad reaction, it would be useful to many of us. But I'd bet you'll be fine.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:44 AM

This will be the last time I ever eat this brand.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:43 AM

Let us hope so.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:43 AM

Nope. Just getting home from soccer. Frankly, all I care about is the allergic response potential at this point. Having purchased the stuff, I'll eat it if I can. And, frankly again, it is smelling quite delicious in spite of itself.

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20411 · January 26, 2011 at 12:27 AM

I really wouldn't sweat it. Ingesting large amounts of it (as a colonoscopy prep laxative) can lead to renal failure in rare cases, but the amount in your crockpot shouldn't be cause for concern. Just read labels more carefully from now on. Progress, not perfection!

9b4208ea76a3eaf64f94317fad5a34e4
50 · January 26, 2011 at 12:06 AM

I too have inadvertently bought such meat. Don't toss it, a pig died so you could have this meat. It's highly unlikely that a one-time indulgence will harm you. I now scrutinize labels and avoid purchasing such "tainted" meat, thereby, in my own small way, reducing demand for such product.

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7 Answers

0a15fe8b7da775b975d6e3bc1e70d04b
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30 · October 11, 2012 at 4:03 AM

A large portion of the pork in the world today is "enhanced" with things like Sodium Chloride and Sodium Phosphate. As much as you might call this chemical water, what this really does is help to hold the water in the meat. Otherwise you'd end up with dry pork.

This comes more from the issue that pork has been bred to be leaner and leaner over time, and its the lack of the fat in the muscle that results in a drier product. Hence, they add water holding agents back into the meat.

If you want pork that is not enhanced, look carefully at the package, and if you really want good tasting quality pork that is not enhanced get into some of the heirloom pork options out there. Berkshire based hogs (its a breed) are a good way to get started on delicious pork.

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17083 · October 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

+1 I'd avoid CAFO pork for the paylean rather than the "added water." The downside, is, of course, it makes it heavier and you're paying more for CAFO pork by weight than you would otherwise. Translation, we the corporation can add a little salt and increase profits!!!!1! Whenever I look at ingredients and see stuff like this, I visualize a little trollface on the label. It's dishonest. I'd rather have real pork, not "lean" crap that's been fed paylean and other nasties - I'd rather pay much more for pork that's been allowed to eat acorns and hasn't been exposed to industrial nasties.

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1304 · January 26, 2011 at 2:43 AM

Is this answer too late?

Toss it if you would toss a piece of meat with added sodium nitrite.

I don't think sodim phosphate contains gluten/soy, but it still has some level of toxicity that may be harmful to a weaker digestive system. On the other hand, I would guess that that 12% is mostly water, if the three ingredients are listed in that order.

Let us know.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 26, 2011 at 4:08 AM

Really, let us know if you have any bad reaction, it would be useful to many of us. But I'd bet you'll be fine.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:43 AM

Nope. Just getting home from soccer. Frankly, all I care about is the allergic response potential at this point. Having purchased the stuff, I'll eat it if I can. And, frankly again, it is smelling quite delicious in spite of itself.

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39821 · January 26, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Personally, I wouldn't eat it, but in the grand scheme of things it probably won't do that much damage.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:43 AM

Let us hope so.

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0 · January 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

To: wjones3044

I'm not allergic to soy, but soy sensitive. I proved it to my allergist…..That said, for me, the effect of the foods like this is more in strange brain wave effects - weird dreams, wakeful sleep and not feeling rested upon awakening. It seems to makes the brain synapses keep firing even though you have settled down to sleep. The more I consume the more the effect is evident; a warning to you since you bought a big piece of meat.

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0 · April 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Sodium Chloride a.k.a. salt is essential for lean meat to cook well and taste good. Sodium Phosphates made up of sodium, phosphorus and oxygen which are all essential nutrients for the human body, they are not to be feared, your body knows what do do with them. These elements are found in every cell of the human body.

BTW, "meat marinade" = filtered water solution containing 2% salt and 0.25%-0.75% blended phosphates. A blend of mono and poly types are used as there are multiple reasons to add them to meat to make it more palatable. If filtered water is not used, the metal ions in the water (Ca, Mg, Mn) tie up the phosphates and render them useless in meat processing.

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20787 · January 26, 2011 at 5:03 AM

Isn't that the same thing as phosphoric acid? It's put in lots of foods. Seems to me, you would surely have eaten by now already in your life, at least before you went paleo. THis will unlikely be the first exposure.

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8858 · January 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I think it's different. Anyway I ate the stuff and I'm still alive. Live and learn...

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e
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2099 · January 26, 2011 at 12:24 AM

I agree...I wouldn't eat it either, but in the long run it won't hurt you if you eat it only occasionally. But personally, it would really irk me to find out that I paid good money for chemical-laden water..."up to 12%" (!)...that they use to disguise an inferior product. That's good money down the drain for chemical water (pun intended), if you ask me. You should do the math and find out just how much of the cost of that pork shoulder was potassium phosphate broth.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e
2099 · January 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM

When I was a kid, 40 years ago, pork was wonderfully fatty, juicey and delicious. Then they started to breed it leaner and leaner, to the point where they've bred it so lean that a pork loin roast cooks up as dry as punk if it isn't brined. I used to love pork, but not anymore. I rarely buy it anymore because its just too lean.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be
8858 · January 26, 2011 at 3:44 AM

This will be the last time I ever eat this brand.

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