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Pumped-Up Poultry Not ‘Natural,’ Says CSPI

Statement of Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

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People shouldn’t be paying chicken prices for saltwater. But some unscrupulous poultry producers add as much as 15 percent saltwater—and then have the gall to label such pumped-up poultry products “natural.” Some in the industry euphemistically call chicken soaked or injected with salt water “enhanced chicken.” Of course this isn’t really about enhancing chicken, it’s about enhancing profits. Someone’s clucking all the way to the bank.

Adding injury to insult is the fact that these “enhanced” products are much less healthy for you than the natural, unenhanced versions, because they contain up to five times as much sodium. Sodium, of course, tends to increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Americans consume way too much sodium as it is, and the last thing we need is more sodium tucked surreptitiously into otherwise low-sodium foods.

I urge the USDA to put an end to this deceptive-labeling practice and allow consumers to make informed, healthful decisions. I thank Representatives Cardoza and Pickering for focusing their attention on this issue at a press conference in Washington today, and for their efforts to help Americans save a little money on their grocery bills.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).