Beware of Dangerous Meat Preservatives

Be cautious about the meat you eat. I might contain some dangerous meat preservatives. Gunter Heinz & Peter Hautzinger identified some chemicals that are illegally used in meat products.

Formalin or Formaldehyde is a strong disinfectant; if illegally used to control bacterial growth on meat surfaces, it may get into the food chain, may cause kidney damage and is carcinogenic in the long term.

Borax = Sodiumtetraborate, an ingredient in washing powders and used in paper and leather manufacture; is harmful by ingestion if illegally used for meat surface treatment or in meat mixes.

Chlorine (Cl2) is an effective disinfectant e.g. for drinking water (0.4-0.6 ppm), also sometimes used for microbial control of water for spin chillers in poultry slaughter (up to 20 ppm). “Bleach” which is calcium hypochlorite (CaOCl2), reacts with water and releases chlorine ions, which may affect taste and create harmful residues.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), when applied to meat surfaces etc. it disintegrates into oxygen and water, whereby the oxygen develops the antimicrobial and bleaching effect. It causes colour changes on meat surfaces, sometimes used for bleaching cattle stomachs (tripes). Another substance used for bleaching tripes is Calcium carbonate (CaCO3)

Antibiotics such as Nisin (= bacteriocin deriving from Strept. lactis bacteria), suppresses bacterial growth, used for some foods (dairy industries), but generally not allowed and discouraged for use in meat industries; or sulphamethazine used as an antibiotic in pigs with possible residues occurring in the meat.

Sulphur dioxide, is widely legally used in food manufacturing (fruits, juices), but use in the meat sector discouraged or forbidden, as it would further add to the daily intake by consumers and, most importantly, it may make poor quality products open to adulteration. The substance has a notable effect on raw red meat, in particular on the hygienically very sensitive minced meat, as it can reverse dark brownish colours of over-stored products causing them to lighten and reddening in colour. Moreover, also the beginning bacterial spoilage can be masked through the substance’s inhibitory effect on microorganisms.

How can we stay way with theses meats? We must buy products from reputable source. If you are buying fresh meat, a seal from National Meat Inspection Service is a good indication of safety.

meat poison symbol


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