The Role of Sodium in Processed Meats

Aug 02, 2016

ProcessedMeatsReducing sodium in processed meats is a difficult process because the important roles sodium plays in processed meats. There are a number of reasons salt is incorporated into processed meat formulations. Safety is of utmost important to meat producers. Sodium plays an important role in keeping consumers safe controlling the growth of bacteria and preventing spoilage. Processed meats have a unique flavor that consumers associate with saltiness. Consumers also associate certain eating characteristics with processed meats. Salt helps to provide a unique bite or texture to the products.

All meat contributes sodium to the diet. There is a small amount of sodium naturally founds in fresh meat. Processed meats have a higher percentage of salt than fresh meat, but not the highest amounts of sodium on the market. Bacon for example, is on the lower end of sodium containing foods. Items like bread and cheese have a greater percentage of sodium and contribute a greater amount of sodium to the diet.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar, Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin, said, “Many companies have initiatives to reduce sodium content in their processed meat products and still try to maintain quality, safety, and all the important properties consumers want.”  

Sodium components of a product can always be found on the nutrition panel of the product. In a balanced diet, a consumer is still able to stay within the dietary recommendation for sodium, while consuming processed meats.


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