Injecting meat with water

Quite a few meats are allegedly “injected with water” to increase their volume.

The other day I got bacon and steak pieces from the same butcher. During cooking, both meats exuded a large amount of water that had to boil off before the meat actually started to sear in the pan.

Is this technique actually real? If so, how is it done (and why doesn’t the water form pockets, rather than a uniform distribution)?

I’m afraid I have no answers to how frequent, but I made the mistake of buying some meat at Wal-mart once, and upon inspection, the label said something to the effect of ‘this meat is injected with up to 8% water’. Going back to the same store, it seems most of their beef (and if I recall some of their pork) was the same way.

Taking a guess, I would say it is done to make the meat look better and weigh more while maintaining the illusion of it selling for less (Wal-mart beef is much cheaper than the steaks at our farmer’s market).

There was a TV investigation about this recently.

The water has some proteins in it, derived from cows I think, that allows the water to remain in suspension with the fat in the meat. The meat is passed through a press with rows of hollow spikes and the water is literally blasted through the spikes into it.

The point is to increase the weight. It’s also perfectly legal, as long as they mention it on the packaging. But then, the investigation discovered that the % of water quoted was usually under-estimated, sometimes blatently so. And then there’s the issue that what you thought was chicken has cow protein in it and is a mis-shappen flabby mush.

And you wonder why people become vegetarian.

The reason the water does not form pockets in the meat probably has something to do with osmosis, I would say. All internal animal and vegetable cellular walls are permeable to water.

In a steak or a rasher, the cells of the meat are intact, whereas in a susage or other highly procesed meat product, the cells of the meat are bashed about so much that there are very few intact cells, surrounded by cell walls.
So in the rasher or the steak, the water can be absorbed by each individual cell (which hasn’t been pierced by the injection needle) causing the intact cells to swell up.
In a processed meat product water is generally added in conjunction with milk proteins, called whey.

In either case, the addition of water is to pump up the meat and to charge you €15 a kilo (or whatever it is where you buy your meat) for water.

It is a big fat swizz.

If the animal was alive for the injection, the sodium pump (that isn’t its proper name - the Na/K osmotic balance regulation via transport of ions across the cell walls process wotsit) would regulate the influx of water and get rid of it into the blood stream.

They do it when the animal’s still alive? :eek:

Or is that speculative?

It is a bloody con. It’s con tastic. It’s con temtible.

No, they don’t do it while the animal is still alive, as far as I know, because if they did the alive animal’s cellular processes would expel the water, there would be no money to be made by doing that, so the injection process is post slaughter.

I should have bolded the if at the beginning of the last paragraph.
Sorry about that.

I wonder why people don’t go to a better source of meat. That rubbish is what one gets in “bargain” outlets like WalMart that cater to people who have less sense than teeth.

I got this from our very reputable local butcher’s. I was really pissed off.

You’d think a reputable butcher’s shop would have a larding needle. Or at least sell them. As long as they’re selling flabby meats.

When I want bargain food, I get roach-coach tacos. At a reputable butcher’s, my standards are a bit higher.

I once worked for a farmer in Missouri and before he had the herd slaughtered,the vet came in and injected them with something that he (the farmer)told me made them retain water so they weighted more during the slaughter. He also had two herds and two feed bins. He only ate from 1 of the herds,of course,the 1 that didn’t get all the shots.He never bought meat at a supermarket. He said,“I know how much they pay for it and there’s a reason they sell it for less”. We had one cow that had eye cancer,the whole right side of the head was one bleeding sore,covered with flies . The animal was in horrible pain,as the bellowing was constant . I asked him why we didn’t just shoot her to but her out of her misery.I will never forget his responce; “Oh.I’ll just get a little less when they slaughter it”. The morale of the story is -when you see meat on sale-beware.