Words Matter

I've never thought to much about food terminology as I get most of my food from the grocery store.  Now that I'm trying to find cost effective sources of meat for my RAW diet for my dogs, and I'm buying food-stuff from a Restaurant Supply (because I have a business license, not because I'm in the food business), I'm bumping into terminology that I've not seen before.

Specifically, I see meat that is Halal.  I've never encountered that before.  If you want to understand what that is, you can read about it here. Also, I have encountered select and standard grades of beef that I've not encountered before either.  If you would like to understand how beef is graded, you can find a good overview here from Texas A&M.  Per the USDA

Products prepared by federally inspected meat packing plants identified with labels bearing references to "Halal" or "Zabiah Halal" must be handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.

(Now that I'm familiar with it, I saw some at Walmart. Walmart is not my destination for shopping, but it happens to be adjacent to the restaurant supply store.)  For my purposes, feeding my dogs, I'm quite happy with lower grades of meat.  In general, I'm opting for leaner meat as I'm adding fats.  So, standard or select is fine with me.  It is still USDA, and meats minimum standards.  Most recently I picked up some standard chuck tenders.  There was absolutely NO waste.  Ground it up with liver and will serve it with the heart that I slaved over!

 Further, I came across "mechanically separated turkey".  "Mechanically Separated Turkey"  seemed a non-noxious food label, since my brain equated that it had been separated from the bone by machine. Well, I figured that it was just that, mechanically deboned, and I didn't think a thing about it.  It sat there in a 10lb chub @ .86/lb  next to the Perdue 5lb turkey chub @  $2.00/lb.   I wasn't paying attention initially thinking that it was merely 2x the amount for less than 1/2 the cost.  Once I got home, I realized that the words were very specific on the packaging...."mechanically separated turkey" and also HRI use only.  

As it turns out, words do matter!  It is a required food label when the turkey is mechanically separated AFTER the GOOD STUFF is taken off of it. Good stuff removed; then all edible pieces scrubbed off through a high pressure process. Per the USDA
is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones with attached edible tissue through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since 1969. In 1995, a final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it would be used without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated chicken or mechanically separated turkey" (depending on the kind of poultry used) in the ingredients statement. The final rule became effective November 4, 1996.

 Yummy!  My package is also labeled for HRI use only: that is Hotels, Restaurants and Institutions which basically allows no nutritional labeling.  But there is a label; here it is.

Notice that calcium level at 15%.

Now let's look at the regularly processed 5lb chub.

I'm unclear how 4 oz serving size is 114g on one and 112g on the other.  If one were rounding it would be 113g.  What's a gram between friends? Also 15% fat v. 8% above).

Note the difference in the calcium level.....15% or 7.5 times more than the other meat.  And it contains 25% more iron.    Obviously this process forces bone debris into the meat and boosts the calcium level.  For those looking for  good calcium source this would be it!

Would I feed it to my family?  Under certain conditions, but I'm not living in those conditions, and if I were, I would likely not have access to this product.


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