4

votes

Chemical dip for chicken meat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 30, 2011 at 2:17 AM

I was speaking with someone this morning who used to be involved in poultry processing. He told me that typically, after a chicken is slaughtered and eviscerated, the meat is then dipped in a chemical bath to kill germs. He also said that warning labels were put on boxes of this chicken meat, but then since the meat is removed from the boxes at the grocery store, the public never actually sees the warning labels. Nice. From google, I found some further info on what types of chemical might be added. Here: http://www.themeatsite.com/articles/762/improving-the-microbial-quality-and-shelf-life-of-chicken-carcases they suggest that lactic acid or trisodium phosphate are often used (I know that in the painting industry, TSP is often used to clean dirty walls prior to painting) Another chemical that comes up a lot on google as a chicken meat dip is chlortetracycline. Yum. Even McDonald's honey mustard is better! Anyone know more about this?

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on March 27, 2012
at 07:44 PM

90% of the arguments against eating meat are actually arguments against industrial meat production. The system is beyond sick.

Ee70ee808f748374744404a00e1c22ed

(1163)

on March 27, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Yikes! That is incredibly scary.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on January 30, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Thanks! I appreciated your question as much as you appreciated the answer! I didn't know any of this till I saw your question. It made me do some Googling and here are the results. I agree, this is disturbing. Some of the chemicals seem less worrisome than others -- e.g. lactic acid which occurs naturally in our bodies. It would be interesting how much of each one is used by processors.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:38 AM

Or perhaps, not eat the skin..

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Erg. This is the exact answer to my question and exactly what I was looking for. Two thumbs up on the answer. However, seems like the truth is even worse than I expected. Most of these chemical additives by law require no labeling at all and there are hundreds of them that are allowed. And other google searches that I have done show that they do soak into the meat to some extent. They are even adding chemicals to that little sponge matt that sits between the meat and the styrofoam in the packaging.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:13 AM

Rinse the chicken thoroughly before cooking.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:49 AM

The thing is, I am not sure the dip counts as an 'additive.' The guy I spoke with said he didn't think so. If they inject something into the chicken, like polyphosphates, THEN it is an additive. But sounds like antiseptic washes don't count legally.

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9 Answers

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15
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on January 30, 2011
at 02:59 AM

The use of these chemicals is regulated in the United States by FSIS-USDA (Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture).

The relevant regulations are contained in FSIS Directive 7120.1 which you can find on the web here:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7120.1.pdf

If you look in that document in the section called "Antimicrobials" you'll find information about every chemical that can be lawfully used to disinfect meat in the US, including the permitted amounts and labeling requirements.

For each chemical, the last column of the table shows labeling requirements. There are many chemicals listed which do not have to be included on labels.

For example, trisodium phosphate is listed on page 21. Processors are allowed to spray or dip chicken carcasses in an 8-12 percent solution for up to 15 seconds, and they are not required to list this chemical on the label.

There are dozens of other antimicrobials that do not have to be mentioned on labels -- check out the document.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Erg. This is the exact answer to my question and exactly what I was looking for. Two thumbs up on the answer. However, seems like the truth is even worse than I expected. Most of these chemical additives by law require no labeling at all and there are hundreds of them that are allowed. And other google searches that I have done show that they do soak into the meat to some extent. They are even adding chemicals to that little sponge matt that sits between the meat and the styrofoam in the packaging.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on January 30, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Thanks! I appreciated your question as much as you appreciated the answer! I didn't know any of this till I saw your question. It made me do some Googling and here are the results. I agree, this is disturbing. Some of the chemicals seem less worrisome than others -- e.g. lactic acid which occurs naturally in our bodies. It would be interesting how much of each one is used by processors.

2
36d2b81a83e045f6bb7b51358c7e0624

on March 27, 2012
at 01:39 PM

I found this forum during a search to try and find out what all could be in or on processed poultry for my 14yr old daughter. Let me give a quick background. My daughter loves,loves,loves chicken and will eat her weight in it if I let her. One night about 2 months ago we end up in the emergency room with her because of stomach cramps--unrelated to the chicken at this point---and when we get to see the doctor he begins to examine a rash on my daughter--we were told by pediatrician it was "scabies" and treated it as such with no results. The ER doctor was upset when he heard this, ordered medications to be injected and informed us that she was beginning to have a sever allergic reaction to something and asked all the normal questions (new laundry detergent?; new soap? etc.) and nothing was new.

You can only imagine how this made me feel. I was relieved to know that I wasn't fighting a nasty critter, but at the same time I felt horrible knowing that all my efforts to fix what I thought was the problem were wasted, and my trust for my doctors office tainted.

The medication at the ER immediately began working, the cramping was from her being backed up because of the allergic reaction and she was right as rain.

That was a Monday and at this point I am going through everything and documenting everything right down to what sauce she has tasted to what lotion she may have tried.

Over the course of 3 days she starts to break out again and the most common thing we discovered was chicken. I refused to believe that her favorite food, one she has eaten in every shape and form could be making her sick. Then it happened.

She was at a movie night with family a mile up the road the Friday of the same week and ate two large pieces of Tyson chicken. About an hour after that her Uncle was rushing her to me and we were on our way to the ER at about 90 mph. (We live in the country and took the interstate to the city.) My daughter couldn't breath, was beginning to swell all over her body and as soon as we arrived at the ER I gave them the paperwork from that previous Monday. She was given everything for an allergic reaction and began to feel better within minutes. The same ER doctor was there and came to see us, confirmed that it was a food allergy, but no one wanted to admit that the chicken may have done it because the chicken allergy is very very rare.

We leave the ER, the following Monday I scheduled an allergy test with our doctor office at a time when my daughter will be better and no medication in her system. They tested her for all common food allergies and added chicken. Wouldn't you know it she's not allergic to any food in its purest form. So we get some free range chicken from the local Amish market and viola...no allergic reaction. However, put any processed chicken in her system and she almost dies.

Another experiment we tried was different brands of chicken and she reacts worse to Tyson then any other brand, but I will not buy processed meat that is not from my own cow or my own chickens. Unfortunately not everyone is as blessed as I am to have the area to raise their own food, but one really needs to think about some of the crap that we feed ourselves and our children because Government Regulation says it's ok. Well for my family it's not ok, it almost killed my child, and had I not really paid attention, it very well could have.

Thank you for letting me share my story, and I just hope that maybe it will open up some eyes.

Ee70ee808f748374744404a00e1c22ed

(1163)

on March 27, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Yikes! That is incredibly scary.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on March 27, 2012
at 07:44 PM

90% of the arguments against eating meat are actually arguments against industrial meat production. The system is beyond sick.

2
1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

on January 30, 2011
at 08:16 PM

I try to eat less chicken these days anyway, because it all tastes like someone set it in a vat of bleach..no flavor.People seem to mainly use it as a vehicle for sauces or breadcrumbs now. Unfortunately, the free range local can run up 8 dollars a pound here.Not something that I can afford in my weekly budget.

2
E1fd3a5ea90cdbceb8a2aa4bcfa1b923

(474)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Poultry processors use chill baths to cool the birds to prevent bacterial growth. Chlorine is widely used in the baths to control cross-contamination. Some specialty poultry processors use ozone as a sanitizer. It is more expensive, so it will probably be on the label as one of the selling points. There are a few other methods that are used for poultry that is to be exported to countries that don't allow chlorine. I've never come across them in the real word though.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:49 AM

The thing is, I am not sure the dip counts as an 'additive.' The guy I spoke with said he didn't think so. If they inject something into the chicken, like polyphosphates, THEN it is an additive. But sounds like antiseptic washes don't count legally.

1
86e631c6164bfdf4221434e2d38125b3

(414)

on February 07, 2011
at 02:53 AM

If you really want to delve into this, try reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Turned me off factory farmed meat for good. He's a veg and pushing that, but not too hard.

Bell & Evans air chills its chicken - no chemical chilling bath or added liquid volume. It tastes different and better, and the price is comparable to store brand organic I was buying.

1
730b4d4c50506a31777e90b36c5999da

(235)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Well, that makes me want to throw out my full freezer. But what's the alternative, $9 a lb chicken?

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:13 AM

Rinse the chicken thoroughly before cooking.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on January 30, 2011
at 03:38 AM

Or perhaps, not eat the skin..

1
64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:44 AM

I've heard straight bleach also.

1
D38c0cc994b194de08289e0fe3f99d1e

(421)

on January 30, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Often times inexpensive chicken meat is soaked before sale in a saline type water solution. This enhances taste and adds weight; however, FDA regs require that this be disclosed. For example, read the label on a bag of individually frozen chicken breasts at Sam's.

The higher quality chicken I buy at my local grocery store usually says right on the package that no water or other additives have been used. It of course costs more by the lb, if for no other reason, because you aren't buying any water with it.

I am not aware of the process you describe above, but nor am I am expert on chicken processing.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 08, 2011
at 09:38 AM

Good information.

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