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Thread: Water in chicken? page

  1. #1
    norak's Avatar
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    Water in chicken?

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    The other day I bought a package of grilled chicken thighs and for some reason I started to read the ingredients list, which really made me wonder:

    Ingredients: chicken thighs 80% (Norwegian source), water, salt (1.5%), dextrose, spices, ...

    So, how come in a package of chicken thighs (there's nothing else in the package), there's only 80% chicken? Or does it mean that 80% of the chicken is from Norway (and the other 20% from abroad)?

    And water? Did they add water to the chicken, or are they listing the natural water content of the chicken? It's rather confusing. I know it's quite common to add water to minced meat, but I didn't think it was common (or even legal) to do so to "unprocessed" food. I always assumed the ingredients to be 100% chicken... I sure hope the spices isn't 20% of the net weight!

    Here's an image to illustrate what kind of product this is:


    I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but there was a discussion a while back here in Norway about producers adding water to their fish fillets, and I think the conclusion was that it's illegal to add water to any "whole foods" product (i.e. chicken filet, chicken filet, steak, etc.). I assumed this was also the case for chicken thighs.

    Is it common to have water on the ingredients list of "whole foods"?

    When I think of it, I should probably send an e-mail to the producer and as what the h*** is going on here.
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  2. #2
    norak's Avatar
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    I just checked the ingredients list of a product from a competing brand (similar product), and they don't list water and they don't list the percentage of chicken content (assumed to be 100%?):

    Ingredients: chicken, salt, spices, sugar, ...

    So it looks like something is going on here (i.e. the above mentioned producer is cutting its costs by adding water to the chicken?).
    Norak's Primal Journal:
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  3. #3
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    Its not just adding water, when chicken are processed they have to be soaked in cold water until they drop to 36 degrees, to stave off reproduction of bacteria. The chicken absorbs this, quite a bit of it actually. Others do inject a saline solution, to cut costs. i used to work in a chicken butchering factory.

    I actually like to buy whole chickens and butcher them, its cheaper to get a bunch of different cuts and have the bones and cartilage to boil for stock.

  4. #4
    norak's Avatar
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    As I understand it, after reading a bit more about this online, the product in question actually contains 20% added saltwater. It's done to increase their profits, and supposedly make the chicken more juicy.

    I buy this particular type of product for convenience. They can be used cold in salads or steamed with vegetables to make a quick dinner. I'll still keep buying it, but I will switch to a different brand (and read ingredients lists, even on "whole foods" products) from now on. I wish there was a similar product out there made from organic chicken with no added preservatives (or sugar -- why would anyone want SUGAR on their chicken??), but I guess the market for that is still too small. If I want organic chicken I have to either buy raw fillets or thighs (or the whole chicken), which is so much more of a hassle to prepare, unfortunately.

    I'm actually a bit disturbed that this practice is even legal. Apparently, it's legal as long as you declare on the packaging that water/salt has been added and what the final meat percentage is (i.e. 80% chicken, in this case).
    Last edited by norak; 08-26-2011 at 02:42 AM.
    Norak's Primal Journal:
    2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
    2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
    2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

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    Chicken should be the only ingredient in chicken. I wouldn't touch anything with salt, sugar, dextrose, spices etc
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

    Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

  6. #6
    norak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peril View Post
    Chicken should be the only ingredient in chicken. I wouldn't touch anything with salt, sugar, dextrose, spices etc
    Yeah. But then you also have to accept the fact that you must cook it yourself, which I, honestly, think takes way too much time.
    Norak's Primal Journal:
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    2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
    2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

  7. #7
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    Because it's the antibiotic-laden, GMO grain-eating, raised in a box the size of your head, omega 6 to omega 3 30:1 frankenfood you're supposed to be avoiding. Primal fail. Always, always read every label.


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    norak's Avatar
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    Well. There's "holy" Primal and "pragmatic" Primal. I'm the pragmatic kind. When given the choice between grilled chicken thighs with added preservatives and a pizza from the corner joint, I'll choose the chicken.

    Eating organic free-range chicken is all good in theory, but not always so easy to do in practice. I'd rather go for the least evil of the commercial stuff rather than fantasizing about some ideal meat I will never actually be bothered to prepare.
    Last edited by norak; 08-26-2011 at 04:25 AM.
    Norak's Primal Journal:
    2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
    2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
    2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

  9. #9
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    In the US, there are many products like Hams that have regulated levels of water that can be added. Under a certain %, they can label it as 100% meat. After 5 (?) %, they have to label it "water-added", and then again after another threshold they have to start listing actual %s. Alton Brown went over it in his ham episode much better than I can remember off the top of my head. Many manufacturers add water so they can use pieces of meat and then reform it into more shapely meats... hence some hams that look more like ham than ham. I imagine they would do the same to chicken and turkey (turkey bacon anyone?).

    My suggestion would be to eat it and just chalk it up to unfortunate circumstances, or to use it as flavoring in a big broth, though this would be a waste of the proteins in the meat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by norak View Post
    why would anyone want SUGAR on their chicken
    In general the only time I ever use or consume sugar is as part of a cure, marinade or sauce for meat or vegetables. Sugar's job is to make me want to eat more of it, so it has to be attached to healthy foods.
    "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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