Not that it bothers me as a vegan but, for millions of folks who adhere to a specific diet for religious reasons, a new and shocking practice has been unearthed in the UK. The Foods Standards Agency has discovered that food manufacturers have taken to increasng their profits by injecting beef and pork proteins into chicken meat. These 'hydrolysed animal proteins' allow the chicken flesh to retain extra water (which is also injected into it) which in turn adds extra weight thereby making it more profitable.
Food manufacturers behaving in a deceitful and scurrilous manner? Who'd have thought?!?!?!?
I came across the article - somewhat buried, I might add - in The Telegraph today and am cross posting it here. My comments are below.....
Beef and pork proteins being injected into restaurant chicken meals
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Published: 7:00AM BST 05 Jun 2009
"The proteins have been used by food manufacturers as a method of bulking up chicken meat with water. The bovine and porcine protein powders allow the chicken to hold far more water, and gives unscrupulous manufacturers the opportunity to sell their meat at a higher price to wholesalers.
The practice was only detected by the FSA's new scientific techniques and restaurants and takeaway outlets would not have known that their meals contained traces of pork and beef.
The FSA report said: "Use of these proteins does not make chicken products unsafe, but it is important that people are given accurate information about their food."
Britain's two million Muslims, Jews and Hindus, who are forbidden from eating either pork or beef, could have unwittingly eaten the products.
Bharti Tailor, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain said: "The findings in this report are shocking and potentially very distressing for the Hindu community."
Manufacturers can legally add water to chicken, but must declare it as an ingredient if it goes above five per cent of the content. Water pumped into chicken above that level will usually leak out unless it is kept in with the help of so-called hydrolysed proteins.
The FSA has issued a new warning: "If you choose not to eat pork or beef you may wish to avoid chicken that contains hydrolysed proteins.
"If you are eating food from a restaurant or takeaway, you should ask if the chicken contains hydrolysed animal proteins.
"Restaurants and catering establishments will have this information available to them as it will be on the ingredients list of the products they buy."
The pork and beef proteins are only used in miniscule amounts and were discovered when the FSA tested a small sample of products using a new DNA technique.
It tested five protein powders from three companies. All five contained a material identified as bovine collagen and tests uncovered the presence of porcine material in two of the powders.
Tests also found traces of beef were found to be in one of three chicken breasts."
The part I love most is this:
If you are eating food from a restaurant or takeaway, you should ask if the chicken contains hydrolysed animal proteins.
Yes, I can absolutely see customers asking the 17-year old server in McDonalds if the chicken sandwich contains pork!
"If you choose not to eat pork or beef you may wish to avoid chicken that contains hydrolysed proteins.
Or maybe it would just be so much easier to choose to avoid ALL dead animals at dinnertime??
Call me crazy.....
Stay vegan, friends!