Let’s dive into the topic of how fresh the meat we find in supermarkets really is. You won’t believe some of the things we found out!
How fresh is fresh?
So, you know that word “fresh” we see on food labels? It turns out, it can mean different things. According to the Daily Mail, food can be called “fresh” even if it’s been heat-treated, partially frozen, chemically altered, or stored for weeks. Can you believe it?
They even mentioned that some “fresh” New Zealand lamb can be almost two months old. Yuck!
Pretty in pink
It’s not just about the age of the meat. Have you ever wondered why that nice slice of ham you love has that pretty pink color? Well, it’s not natural, my friend.
It is injected it with something called sodium nitrite (also known as E250). This chemical is added to processed meats to make them look fresh and appealing because, honestly, who wants to eat meat that looks gray and old?
Here’s the problem, though. Sodium nitrite has been linked to something called Colorectal Cancer (CRC), which is the second most deadly cancer in developed countries.
Nitrites are used to improve the flavor and aroma of the meat and to give it that red-pinkish look we all expect. But if it weren’t for E250, your meat would be its natural gray color. Some people claim that E250 also helps prevent bacterial contamination in cured meats like ham.
The UK Food Guide even states that sodium nitrite inhibits the growth of bacterial spores that cause a condition called Botulism. So, it does have its uses, but we have to be aware of the potential health risks.
Oncology News mentions that there’s convincing evidence linking the consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, to an increased risk of Colorectal Cancer. That’s pretty concerning!
Now, get this. The UK government and France actually called for a ban on nitrogen salts (including E249, E250, E251, and E252) in processed meats. They recognized the known risks associated with these additives.
But guess what? The European Commission didn’t go for it. Sodium nitrite is banned in some countries like Norway, Sweden, Canada, and parts of Germany, but not in the EU.
Keep it fake, keep sales up!
One of the reasons they continue to use sodium nitrite is because shoppers might not want to buy meat that looks grayish. But I don’t know about you, I’d rather have naturally colored meat, even if it’s not that pretty pink. It’s important to keep an eye out for E249, E250, E251, and E252 on food labels and be aware of what we’re consuming.
Public Health Warning
I even think there should be a clever notice on processed meat, just like the warnings on cigarette packets, saying something like “Warning: Consuming this meat will cause cancer!” It’s important to spread awareness about these issues, so feel free to share this cleverness with others.
If you want to learn more, you can check out the articles listed for further reading. Remember, my friend, it’s essential to make informed choices about the food we eat.
Stay clever, question everything, and take care!