Why does Wal-Mart sell meat injected with water and chemicals?

If you read this space regularly, you know I’m a tad obsessed about the meat at Wal-Mart. It’s not that I plan to eat any of it soon, it’s that I think people ought to know exactly what gets done to it. I’ve been following the story Wal-Mart suppliers gassing the meat with carbon monoxide for months, and I knew that Wal-Mart watered down its meat but I didn’t quite understand how much until I read this outraged letter to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott:

I didn’t take the time to inspect the entire meat department but I did look at a small sampling of those cuts around me.

Ham………….contained……23% solution
Chicken Breasts.contained……15% solution
Pork Roast……contained……12% solution
Ground Round….contained……15% solution
Chuck Roast…..contained……11% solution
Beef Fillet…..contained……20% solution

I have no doubt in my mind that this is (sorry about the pun), just the tip of the iceburg. If you carry this through, you will realize that we’re paying considerably more per pound of “meat” than the label implies. While we believe we’re buying a 5-pound fillet for $4.96 per pound or $24.80 total, in reality, it’s costing considerably more. Divide the price for the four pounds of actual meat when you subtract for a pound for the solution and you’ll see that we paid $6.20 for a pound for the actual meat.

Now I realize this guy didn’t do a scientific survey or anything, but Wal-Mart told the NYT that “a majority of its fresh offerings are enhanced with a 6 to 12 percent solution of water, salt, sodium phosphate and natural flavorings.” Perhaps they have their math a little off?

If Wal-Mart isn’t selling water in its meat in order to rip people off, what exactly is all that solution doing in there? Here’s Wal-Mart’s explanation to the Hartford Courant:

Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters told me that all its case-ready beef (packaged at the processing plant) is “enhanced with a maximum 12 percent solution of water, sodium phosphate, salt, and natural flavorings. As a result, case-ready beef is superior in tenderness, texture, juiciness, and flavor to non-enhanced beef cuts and provides a preferred eating experience.

[Emphasis added]“

So let me get this straight. Wal-Mart saves money buying its meat from factory farms. Wal-Mart saves money by not hiring meatcutters so that they won’t unionize. Wal-Mart saves money by selling its customers water at the same price by weight they charge for meat. Yet they’re trying to tell us they sell meat injected with water and chemicals because we’ll get a “preferred eating experience?”

How dumb do they think we are?

125 Responses to “Why does Wal-Mart sell meat injected with water and chemicals?”

  1. Tracey says:

    I had the same problem with chicken breasts from Sam’s Club.  After finding this page I now know that I was not alone.

    • Cregg says:

      Same thing here about meat at Sam’s Club.  Bought a ten pound pack and got 2.5 pounds after frying it.  Needed more so I had to go to Winn Dixie and purchased 6.75 pounds, came home fried it and came out with 4.5 pounds.  A 2.25 pound loss vs. approximately 7.5 loss from SAMs chicken.  Can someone PLEASE explain this to me.   SAMs and Walmart claim a maximum 12% injection water weight.   I want to know the kind of math they are doing!

  2. carol says:

    I have a problem with the texture. Is awful. And I always have trouble with the smell of ground beef cooking, but Walmart’s was the worst. Did not get sick from eating either, but swore that I would never buy there again. I go to a butcher and get better tasting, larger steaks. Are they more expensive? You betcha. But, wow, can’t beat the quality. Walmart can put out as many meat commercials as they want, they will not get my dollars for that.

  3. Donna says:

    walmart’s meat labels to not indicate “solution” data anymore, but you can see that is still looks watery. Doesnt the law require meat labels to show if “solution” has been added? I’ll NEVER but walmart meat/chicken or same from Kroger store in SW virginia

  4. Queen Cyrie says:

    What I find astounding is that anyone shops Walmart at all.  A lot of you have said that you won’t buy meat there again.  If a company lacks integrity as this one obviously does, and inflates their meat with a mystery solution to not only cover up its flaws but charge its customers for the water weight, why would you trust them with anything else?  Does this not say everything that needs to be said about their company?  Don’t just take your business to the local butcher.  Take ALL of your business elsewhere. 

    One of the biggest issues I have with Walmart is their effect on the economy.  Not just that their looming presence kills off the local businesses, but look at what they have done to the manufacturing jobs in America.  There are very few.  Walmart demanded that manufacturing be sent overseas.  Please google this and read about their control over manufacturing.  Why are there no middle-income jobs in America?  Why is China producing all of our goods?  Because of Walmart.  Yet they tout themselves as terrific for America for selling us shoddily made, cheap goods while employing our laid off factory workers at minimum wage, and part time hours with no benefits.  

    I despise liars.  So you see the truth in their meat department.  Don’t just stop buying meat there.  Stop buying ANYTHING.  Find out what they’re really about.

    • Gene Cox says:

      Please list the stores in your area that sells fresh meat especially chicken that has been packaged this way for 25 years, hell yes they are or have taken all there business to china, when the owners of wal mart visited the white house did you see anything about there conversations with the president on the news. he also keeps your assss in the dark and feeds you waterrrr.

  5. builder7 says:

    Putting a water mixture in anything will not make it taste better, unless it is orange juice.  The reason it is not on the labels is probably because they have paid off the legislators and Congressmen to not make a law about it.  Why do you think that they can be paid anything by lobbyists.  Who ever thought that idea up, they are supposed to be doing the peoples work, without any extraneous pay.  Most of the food grown, manufactured, and sold in Walmart and most of the rest of the stores is not good for people because of the chemical additives that they put into our food.  Why are they allowed to do this?  Why isn’t restaurant food labeled?  Same reason – they have been paid off to not do the peoples business!

  6. Beth says:

    I bought Walmart ground chuck with exp. date 11/30/12.  A couple days later I bought ground chuck from regional grocery with exp. date 12/04/12.  The regional ground chuck was starting to get brownish exterior but pink interior in a few days, but Walmart’s was still very pink, which bothered me, so I left it in frig and now, 16 days after sell by date, it is still very pink and has no spoiled odor!  What are they putting in this meat–it has to have something added.  I have a degree in food science and I know this is not normal, which my experiment proved.  No more Walmart ground meat for me, and after reading blog, no more Walmart meat at all!

    • Gene Cox says:

      what you gonna say when you find all stores are doing the same thing, walmart was just wealthy enough to perfect this method and put it in the stores, give us a list of stores in your area that carry meat from there on site butcher.

      • Jeff Hess says:

        So, Gene,

        Followed any of your buddies of that bridge lately?

        If everyone behaves in a reprehensible manner, that does nothing to change the fact that they are behaving in a reprehensible manner.

        Feel free to start your own blog to deal with everyone else. I have enough on my hands simply keeping up with Walmart’s bad behavior.

        Jeff

        p.s. and gene, try not to spend so much time watching fox news. it really isn’t very healthy for you.

  7. D. Koppens says:

    Be careful buying beef and chicken or any meat that has been “preseasoned” for you not only at Walmart but a lot of the grocery stores. The seasoning that they are using is full of peservatives.  Makes me wonder how old the meat is before they put the “seasoning” on it for us.

  8. Cregg says:

    BEWARE of Chicken Breasts purchased at SAMs Club, and be prepared for a 75% water evaporation vs. a normal 30%.  Bought a ten pound pack and got 2.5 pounds after frying it.  Needed more so I had to go to Winn Dixie and purchased 6.75 pounds, came home fried it and came out with 4.5 pounds.  A 2.25 pound loss from chicken bought at WD vs. approximately 7.5 loss from SAMs chicken.  Can someone PLEASE explain this to me.   SAMs and Walmart CLAIM a maximum 12% injection water weight.   Apparently, this is some kind of NEW MATH we haven’t learned yet

  9. J Moore says:

    I splurged and bought a pork roast at Wal Mart and it tasted like boullion soup, which I happen to hate.  If I wanted soup in my meat, I would be the ONLY ONE to put it there. 

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