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Sugar in the Turkey??? What the Heck??

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
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Default Sugar in the Turkey??? What the Heck??

Okay, I know when I buy stuff that is pre-made that they may have added stuff I wouldn't. I get that. Added stuff in lunchmeats, deli foods, frozen dinners etc.

BUT, I purchased a frozen young turkey that said: all natural, no hormones, no preservatives. Large print on the front. Paid a little more than I would have for the store brand, and about the same as a recognizable national brand that comes with a gravy packet, etc.

So, I am getting it ready to go in the oven and decided to get the nutrition info off the bag for entry into my food log at dinner, and saw for a four ounce serving: Calories 170, Fat 5g, Saturated fat 2g,Carbohydrate 1g, fiber 0g, Sugar 1g protein 21 grams.

Wait, Carbohydrate..... Sugar?? In a turkey I am roasting? Then I see it. In very small print under the nutrition info: Injected with turkey broth, sodium phosphate and sugar. Darn. I guess sugar and sodium phosphate are a) Natural, and b)Not hormones. I am irritated with myself for not going over the meat wrappings with a magnifying glass, and with the turkey marketers for putting sugar in my turkey to the extent of about a teaspoon for every half pound.

So, just to check, I went to the Department of Agriculture nutrition site and look up the nutrients of 100g (a little over 3.5 ounces) of roast turkey, including skin and here is their info: Calories 180, Fat 7.41g, Saturated fat 2g,Carbohydrate 0g, fiber 0g, Sugar 0g protein 28 grams. Without the skin it is 165cal and 6g fat.

Significant difference.

Okay, rant done.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:45 PM   #2
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Wow! That is insane. I've learned how to ignore the large print and go for the very small print.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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I've never looked for it on turkey, but I do scrutinize raw or frozen chicken packages and refuse to buy ones that have x% of ANYTHING unless it's up to 1% of water from processing. I don't want that stuff in my food. I don't want to pay by the pound for it. And chicken that has liquid in it steams in a puddle in a pan instead of whatever cooking method I wanted.

I wonder if the FDA would consider that All Natural? But misleading info on the front of the package is why we have consisent nurition information on the back of the package.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:48 PM   #4
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One thing my mom learned from her homeopath is that any meat that says 'natural flavorings added' or 'contains natural solution' contains added sugar, including ground beef and steaks you get from certain processors (Cargill is a big one). Sugar is the natural additive and that's part of why it burns so easily when cooking at times.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:27 AM   #5
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It's important to understand which of the terms on that label have legal meanings and which are just marketing.

"Natural" has no legal meaning, although "Organic" does.

"No hormones": no poultry sold in the US is allowed to be given hormones. So that fact that this turkey doesn't have hormones doesn't make it special! It just means they found a way to market it to you that gives it a healthy-looking halo! I just found out that one a few months ago myself.

Sodium phosphate and sugar are preservatives that probably help to make it look more perky after it's defrosted and keep it from doing things like developing off colors that would otherwise happen naturally to frozen meat. They also add taste that U.S consumers are used to. But they have been used by people for thousands of years (sodium phosphate is a salt) if that makes you feel better. If your grandma canned or made pickles she probably used both of these and more. Just because it has a "chemical" name doesn't necessarily mean it's evil. Table salt (sodium chloride) and water (dihydrogen monoxide) also have chemical names, and your body uses and needs them, as well as uses and makes lots of other "chemicals". (Phosphate too.)

This might be useful -- the USDA factsheet on poultry labeling terms.

From the Factsheet:

NATURAL:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as - no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)

NO HORMONES (pork or poultry):
Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."


(I wonder if your turkey's label had that last disclaimer on it? Maybe in the microscopic print?)

Last edited by bronzeager : 02-20-2011 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:57 AM   #6
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It did have the disclaimer. On the back in smaller print.

I grew up on a small organic farm/ orchard. We canned and froze many things, raised our own beef and chicken, vegetables, and grew and sold heirloom apples. We used salt, sugar, ascorbic acid, etc as part of the canning process. Used salt water to keep the apples from discoloring if we froze them, nothing if we were canning, except heat and time, oh and cinnamon sugar in fruits sometimes, or applesauce. But we never added sugar to frozen fruit, veggie, or meat. I guess it is the sugar I object to most, and the fact that they need to add more and more stuff to give flavor to foods who are raised somewhat artificially and rapidly, instead of pastured, or allowed to run free.

Bronzeager, as you said, the salt and sugar ARE preservatives. So I was stunned to find them in something labeled "preservative free" as well as hormone free. It's my own fault for not reading the label, but the sugar still throws me. Especially with meat.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:05 AM   #7
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yeah hun unfortunately food these days is like that. No wonder there is so much green movements and grow your own... including turkeys... i just live with it as it is, don't have much choice... but i do try to make healthier choices to the best of my ability
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunti View Post
Bronzeager, as you said, the salt and sugar ARE preservatives. So I was stunned to find them in something labeled "preservative free" as well as hormone free. It's my own fault for not reading the label, but the sugar still throws me. Especially with meat.
Yes, I wondered about that too after I looked at your original description. I wonder what the definition of "preservatives" includes there if they are NOT counting the sugar and sodium phosphate. Maybe they squeaked them in under "natural flavoring" or something like that?

Sorry about the long-winded chemical lecture. It's just that I have people in my family who buy products because they have "added vitamin C" or "added calcium" and then throw them away because they have "some awful chemical called ascorbic acid" or "calcium carbonate" on the label.

Last edited by bronzeager : 02-21-2011 at 06:11 AM.
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