Sometimes brands will ‘plump’ up chicken breasts by injecting saline solution. Once I found out about this practice I always have made a point to buy my frozen chicken at Trader Joe’s, but grabbed a bag at Costco when I had run out the other day.
I was marinating some chicken breast when I noticed all of these holes. Kinda creepy, isn’t it?
For more information, here’s a great article from Cooking Light -
The Hidden Sodium in Chicken
One chicken breast could eat up 20% of your sodium limit—before you even start to cook.
- NONENHANCED POULTRY (per 4 ounces raw)
Sodium: 45 to 70mg
Fine print says: ”Contains 1 to 5% retained water.” (This is water that may be absorbed during the chilling process; it’s not injected, and no salt is added.) ENHANCED POULTRY (per 4 ounces raw)
Sodium: 330 to 440mg
Fine print says: ”Enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth, salt, and carrageenan.”
“As American as boneless, skinless chicken breast” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “American as apple pie,” but it’s far more appropriate: We eat an average of 87 pounds of chicken per year, up 81% from 48 pounds in 1980. This makes the plumping practice in poultry processing even more troubling.
About one-third of the fresh chicken found in supermarket meat cases has been synthetically saturated with a mix of water, salt, and other additives via needle injections and high-pressure vacuum tumbling. The process is designed to make naturally lean poultry meat juicier and more tender. A 4-ounce serving of what the industry calls “enhanced” poultry can contain as much as 440mg sodium. That’s nearly one-fifth of the current 2,300mg daily sodium allotment—from a source you’d never suspect.