Monday, August 03, 2009

Lose Money, Gain Salt, and Line the Pockets of Crooks—All by Buying Chicken

How would you like to pay more than the actual weight of your fresh chicken at the grocery store? As though someone had leaned on the scale when weighing it. And how would you like a heaping dose of extra salt with that extra-weighted chicken--even before it's seasoned? Well, that is precisely what we are getting, thanks to the unscrupulous and downright fraudulent practice of "chicken plumping."

According to Mr. Max Bernstein, of Common Sense NMS:

What is PLUMPING?: The practice of injecting saltwater, chicken stock, seaweed extract or some combination thereof into chicken to increase its weight and price, meaning that when you buy a package of chicken you can be spending 15% more on SALT WATER. More importantly, a plumped chicken has up to 700% more sodium than a chicken that hasn't been plumped. The result: hundreds of thousands of consumers are ponying up extra cash (about $1.50 per package of chicken) to unwittingly feed themselves and their families a dangerously unhealthy amount of salt. Consumers apparently are quite unaware of this practice, despite being concerned about their sodium intake:
  • Even though 71.3% of consumers try to watch their sodium intake at least some of the time, many consumers are still unaware of some of the fine print in product labels, even for USDA-labeled "100% natural" minimally processed foods.
  • 89% of consumers surveyed did not realize that a serving of some brands' fresh raw chicken could contain more salt per serving than a large order of french fries.
  • Upon learning how much money they could be paying for saltwater, 70% of the consumers felt deceived and 37% felt angry. Once they learned about the common practice, 85.4% of these consumers said they would now read nutrition labels and avoid saltwater-injected chicken.
  • 74.5% of consumers believe fresh chicken labeled as "natural" should contain no additives or preservatives.
  • 82.4% believe that fresh chicken carrying the "natural" label should not be injected with saltwater.
There's a cute video about all this at Chicken Plumping and much more info at SayNoToPlumping.