Meat Label Lies You Believe

Updated at: Aug 13, 2013
Meat Label Lies You Believe

Meat product labels are sure promising but they can be deceiving. Discover how you can prepare before your next trip to the grocery store without being conned.

Himanshu Sharma
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Jul 17, 2013

It can be tricky to decipher the clever label terms by food marketers. You may look at the label to know it all, but think again.

A man shopping for meat at supermarketFood manufacturers may take an advantage, mentioning false information on packaged foods. Sometimes, labels become a ploy to sell a product, and that doesn’t serve the consumer or the marketplace. Not always are labels meaningful, verified and consistent.

Here we bust down label myths and half-truths related to meat products.

Myth 1: A label reading white meat is always healthy.

In a study at Johns Hopkins University, researchers examined the feathers of imported chicken to determine what the birds ingested before slaughter. They were surprised to find traces of banned antibiotics, antidepressants, allergy medication and uncovered caffeine in half of the samples taken. These helped the chicken to grow faster. Therefore, a naturally raised chicken or raised at the poultry farms who don't use antibiotics or arsenic in feed is better and healthier.

Myth 2: Meat products labelled ‘natural and organic’ are healthier.

The truth is that organic lunchmeats are free of genetically engineered ingredients and pesticides, but they are still likely to harbour nitrites. It has been found that it creates inflammation and causes digestive diseases, including ulcerative colitis. If the label of any meat product has carrageenan in it, it is better to abstain from it. In fact, the term ‘natural’ appearing on a package of meat product is meaningless.

Myth 3: ‘Grass-fed’ meat products are healthier than conventional meats.

There is no evidence to support the notion of grass-fed meats being healthier. It is only that grass-fed meats (animals that are fed only mother’s milk, fresh grass and cut hay) are richer in healthy omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Myth 4: Organic meat product help minimise exposure to unnecessary hormones.

The practice of buying natural meats is believed to reduce exposure to hormones and antibiotics, but ‘natural’ only means that no additives or preservatives were introduced after the meat or poultry was processed.

Myth 5: ‘No Nitrates’ is the only preservative that is bad for you.

When you are buying ‘No Nitrates’ labelled products, you are lowering the risk of certain cancers. Unfortunately, there are other problematic preservatives that consumers usually overlook. The preservatives such as BHA, BHT, benzoates and sorbates are equally harmful.



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