Water in Meat and Poultry Products

Apr 12, 2017

WaterinMeatHave you ever wondered why cooked meat reduces in size compared to the raw product? One of the reasons for the decrease in size is due to water lost in the cooking process.

Meat naturally contains about 75% water, but can vary depending on the cut. The percentage of water in a cut can vary depending on the time of the year, kind of meat and type of muscle. Meat from leaner animals on average contains a slightly higher percentage of water, as the water content is related to the protein and not the fat portion of the product. The table below shows the average water percentage of raw and cooked products.

Water can be added to a product when flavorings or marinades are used. Grocers have started to add a wider variety of meat options to the shelves that are already flavored and ready to cook. These products add an element of convince to the consumer. If flavoring is added it must clearly be stated on the name of the product and also listed in the ingredient panel. One term that is sometimes used when flavoring is added is marinated. To use this term specific amount levels must be met, depending on the product. Meats can contain no more than 10% marinade solution, boneless poultry can contain no more than 8% marinade solution, and bone in poultry no more than 3% marinade solution. The added flavors that are incorporated with meat product are under strict legislation, along with the meat product.

Higher cooking temperatures will amplify the moisture lost in the cooking product. Cooking a product for too long or at too high of temperatures may cause the product to shrink past one third of the original size and weight.

 Source:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/water-in-meat-and-poultry/ct_index

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