Say No To Plumping
The practice of injecting saltwater, chicken stock, seaweed extract or some combination thereof into chicken to increase its weight and price, while simultaneously increasing sodium content by up to 700%.
What it's costing you at the plump
When it comes to buying plumped chicken, it's likely you're spending $1.50 per package on saltwater. The average household could spend $127 a year on saltwater. Let's find out how much you could be spending.
The high price of Plumping
Plumped chicken is 15% saltwater. So when you think you're buying chicken, you're paying for saltwater too.
Plumped blood pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high-sodium diets often lead to high blood pressure, which is a leading factor in the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, stomach cancer and other serious health conditions. One serving - just 4 oz of plumped chicken has the same amount of sodium than a large order of french fries. That's 700% more than natural chicken.
How to spot a plumper
Here are a few ways to tell if the brand of chicken you are purchasing has been plumped:
- Fine print
- Plumped-chicken labels will have (in small print) a phrase such as "contains up to 15% saltwater."
- Nutritional facts
- When in doubt, check the FDA's nutritional facts. Fresh, natural chicken should have no more than 70 mg of sodium per 4 oz serving. This is the amount of naturally occurring sodium in chickens. Plumped chicken can contain up to 440 mg of sodium.
- Almost all frozen and marinated products have either added salt or saltwater. And fresh, natural chicken may contain up to 4% retained water that is the result of processing, which ensures product safety.
Learn more about plumping
Don't just take our word for it. Check out the Truthful Labeling Coalition's site and these recent news articles for more information about plumping:
The Hard Sell on Salt
New York Times, May 29th, 2010
Why the FDA Should Regulate Salt in Foods
The Wall Street Journal, January, 21, 2010
What goes into chicken
Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2010
The Hidden Salt in Chicken
Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2009
Natural Chicken Not So Natural
The Early Show, November 13, 2007
The Fine Print: What's Really in a Lot of 'Healthy' Foods
The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2009
Navigating Heath Food Claims
The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2009
Poultry Companies Adding Broth to Products
Consumer Reports, June 2008
Feathers Fly Over 'Natural' Chicken Labeling
Bloomberg News, November 6, 2007
Producers, Consumer Groups Debate 'Natural' Definition
The Morning News, July 29, 2007
What's In Your Chicken?
The Baltimore Sun, June 12, 2007
'Natural' On The Label Has Foster Squawking
The Modesto Bee, May 30, 2007
Small Poultry Firms Push To Rein In Use of 'Natural'
The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2007
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