All I have to do is eat meat at home, then deli meat or cafeteria meat to know that something’s not right. We can taste the difference but we still tell ourselves, “Well, it’s meat.” Yes and no, in my opinion.
I like to think of deli meat and school cafeteria meat as “Meat Frankenstein.” I was reading this article on Deli meat via The Today Show and it describes some ingredients you’ll see in deli meat products with their descriptions. As interesting and educational this was, it helped me realize that they are STILL trying to make science experiments sound healthy with natural derivatives; “Oh, we just added a little butylated hydroxytoluene; it’s an antioxidant! And, a little bit of papain, It’s derrived from papaya!” I didn’t go to school to understand these words, and I have no idea what the research shows on how our bodies react over a period of time, but I have to use my common sense. We, as people, are getting ahead of ourselves trying to change nature, extract nature, copy nature, or deceiving you by using “natural” as a marketing tool! America is sick, physically and mentally, and I can only imagine “Meat Frankenstein” and friends play a role.
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), tocopherols (vitamin E): Antioxidants that help maintain the appeal and wholesome qualities of food by retarding rancidity in fats, sausages and dried meats, as well as helping to protect some of the natural nutrients in foods, such as vitamin A.
Bromelin: An enzyme that can dissolve or degrade the proteins collagen and elastin to soften meat and poultry tissue. It is derived from pineapple fruit and leaves, and is used as a meat tenderizer.
Carrageenan: Seaweed is the source of this additive. It may be used in products as binder.
Chemical free: Beware, this term is not allowed to be put on any meats or poultry labels.
Citric acid: Widely distributed in nature in both plants and animals. It can be used as an additive to protect the fresh color of meat cuts during storage. Citric acid also helps protect flavor and increases the effectiveness of antioxidants.
Corn syrup: Sugar that is derived from the hydrolysis of corn starch. Uses include flavoring agent and sweetener in meat and poultry products.
Emulsifier: Substance added to products, such as meat spreads, to prevent separation of product components to ensure consistency. Examples of these types of additives include lecithin, and mono- and di-glycerides.
Ficin: Enzyme derived from fig trees that is used as a meat tenderizer.
Gelatin: Thickener from collagen, which is derived from the skin, tendons, ligaments or bones of livestock. It may be used in canned hams or jellied meat products.
Humectant: Substance added to foods to help retain moisture and soft texture. An example is glycerine, which may be used in dried meat snacks.
Hydrolyzed (source) protein: Flavor enhancers that can be used in meat and poultry products. They are made from protein obtained from a plant source such as soy or wheat, or from an animal source, such as milk. The source used must be identified on the label.
Modified food starch: Starch that has been chemically altered to improve its thickening properties. Before the starch is modified, it is separated from the protein through isolation techniques; therefore, the source of the starch used is not required on the label.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): MSG is a flavor enhancer. It comes from a common amino acid, glutamic acid, and must be declared as monosodium glutamate on meat and poultry labels.
Papain: An enzyme that can dissolve or degrade the proteins collagen and elastin to soften meat and poultry tissue. It is derived from the tropical papaya tree and is used as a meat tenderizer.