An educated consumer reads ingredients. Armour's Potted Meat Food Product is probably America's #1 choice because it contains two types of partially defatted cooked fatty tissues and many other ingredients. On the other hand, people may prefer Hormel because it has fewer ingredients and does not contain sodium erythorbate (unless that's in the meat broth). Both, of course, have mechanically separated chicken. Alternatively, there's always Libby's.
You take the taste test and let me know...
For those who don't favour the taste of Potted Meat, there are other canned options. Pork Brains in Milk Gravy is irresistible just for its cholesterol content (1200% of the U.S. RDA!). Spam is the king of meat products for the sheer quality and purity of its ingredients. Lamb tongues probably look cute but seem to be unavailable in the U.S. (the tin in the picture is from New Zealand).
Armour* has changed its ingredients a number of times. The best that I can figure out shows the following evolution:
|version n||Beef tripe, beef hearts, chicken, partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue, water, salt, mustard, vinegar, dried garlic, sodium erythorbate, natural flavoring, sodium nitrite|
|version n+1||Chicken, Beef Tripe, Partially Defatted Cooked Pork Fatty Tissue, Beef Hearts, Partially Defatted Cooked Beef Fatty Tissue, Water, Salt, 2 percent or less: Natural Flavorings, Vinegar, Dextrose, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite|
|version n+2||Mechanically Separated Chicken, Beef Tripe, Partially Defatted Cooked Beef Fatty Tissue, Beef Hearts, Water, Partially Defatted Cooked Pork Fatty Tissue, Salt. Less than 2 percent: Mustard, Natural Flavorings, Dried Garlic, Dextrose, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite|
- Mechanically Separated Poultry
- is a paste-like poultry product produced by forcing crushed bone and tissue through a sieve or similar device to separate bone from tissue. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since 1969 after the National Academy of Sciences found it safe for use. In 1995 the final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it was safe to use without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in the ingredient statement. The final rule became effective Nov. 1996.
Not necessarily related to potted-meat, one often wonders about the definition of meat by-products. The Flint River Ranch summarizes the definition as
by-products are parts of the animal not fit for human consumption.and elaborates:
Meat By-Products - the non rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves.Incidentally, Slim Jim Brand Spicy Smoked "Snack" (notice they don't make any pretense to it being a meat snack) also contains mechanically separated chicken:
Ingredients: Beef, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, corn syrup, dextrose, flavorings, spice, paprika, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy and wheat gluten protiens, sodium nitrite, lactic acid starter culture.This begs the question: what exactly is lactic acid starter culture? That's another topic for another day.
An alta vista search on "potted meat food" revealed 115 documents in early 1998. By early 2000, it yields only 76 pages. Now the count is up to 111 pages, clearly indicating renewed interest in this food group.
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