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List of Additives Allowed in Meat & Poultry (Yum!)

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Want to know what's in your meat and/or poultry? The government's got a new 40-page PDF document with a complete list of allowed additives. And, to help you decipher the list, they also provide a Glossary of Commonly Used Meat and Poultry Additives and Terms.

Here's a sampling of what you'll find in meat & poultry. By the way, many of these chemicals do not need to be labeled on the products you purchase. Honestly, some of these things might be harmless. Even water can sound like a dangerous chemical if you refer to it as dihydrogen oxide. But the sheer length of this list as well as the fact that consumers are in the dark about most of them makes me very glad that I'm a vegetarian and that what little meat I've eaten in the past several years came directly from farmers I know.

Acidifiers: Ammonium hydroxide, an aqueous solution of acidic calcium sulfate, an aqueous solution of hydrochloric and acetic acid, an aqueous solution of citric and hydrochloric acid, an aqueous solution of citric acid, hydrochloric acid, and phosphoric acid, an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid, citric acid, and phosphoric acid, sodium bisulfate, and sulfuric acid.

Anticoagulants: Sodium tripolyphosphate

Antimicrobials: An aqueous solution of sodium diacetate (4%), lactic acid, (4%), pectin (2%), and acetic acid (0.5%); an aqueous solution of sodium octanoate or octanoic acid and either glycerin and/or propylene glycol andor a Polysorbate surface active agent (quantity sufficient to achieve the technical effect of octanoic acid emulsification) adjusted to a final solution pH of 1.5 to 4.0 using sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or an acceptable GRAS [generally regarded as safe] acid;... (the list goes on for many pages and includes such gems as anhydrous ammonia and chlorine gas)

Antioxidants: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

Binders: A mix of sodium alginate, calcium sulfate, glucono deltalactone, and sodium pyrophosphate; a mixture of carrageenan, whey, protein concentrate, and xantham gum; beef collagen; binders listed in 9 CFR 424.21(c) for use in cured pork products and poultry products; carboxymethyl cellulose (cellulose gum); carrot fiber; cellulose, powdered conforming to the specifications in the Food Chemicals Codex 5th Edition; guar powder, micronized; hydroxypropyl methylcellulose; inulin; konjac flour; methylcellulose; oat hull fiber; oat fiber; orange pulp, dried; orange pulp, dried and orange pulp, dried with guar gum; partially hydrolyzed proteins; pectin; pork collagen; pork skin proteins; rice bran; rice starch; sodium alginate; "(species) protein" (e.g., chicken protein); transgultaminase enzyme; trehalose, xanthaM gum (purified by recovery with ethyl alcohol)

Colorings: Carmine (cochineal)

Curing Accelerators (must be used only in combination with curing agents): Potassium erythorbate

Denuding agents (may be used in combination. Must be removed from tripe by rinsing with potable water.): Calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium hydroxide, potassium carbonate, potassium citrate, potassium hydroxide, tricalcium phosphate, tropotassium phosphate

That's just the first 24 pages or so. The list goes on with film forming agents, flavoring agents, "Miscellaneous," packaging systems, poultry scald agents, and tenderizing agents. Yum!