Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 57

W

hile public health strategies to support better-for-you eating through
the Dietary Guidelines and the
National School Lunch Program had been put
on the back burner during the Trump administration, the food industry can expect that as
soon as possible, President-elect Joe Biden's
team will make it a priority. This includes, once
again, putting sodium reduction in the spotlight, especially on school meals.
At press time, the Trump administration
was trying to reduce nutrition requirements
for school meals, seeking to undo changes
initiated by the Obama administration a decade
ago. The US Department of Agriculture stated
that it wants to allow school districts to be
more " flexible " with rules, including previously
mandated reductions in sodium levels. The
plan is to simply do away with sodiumreduction targets for 2021.
Even if successful, schools will still
need to follow the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans, which currently advise that it is
best to consume less than 2,300 milligrams
per day of sodium. While the 2020 Dietary
Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) did
not issue specific recommendations on sodium
intake for the soon-to-be issued 2020-2025
Dietary Guidelines, the DGAC noted sodium
is overconsumed, except by infants, with the
average American consuming 3,393 milligrams
of sodium per day. The new Guidelines are
expected to maintain the current limit, which
was also the sodium advice in a 2019 report
from the National Academies of Science,
Engineering and Medicine.
Excessive consumption of sodium is shown
to raise blood pressure, a condition known
as hypertension and a leading contributor to
cardiovascular disease and strokes. Processed
foods, particularly prepared meat and poultry
products, are known to be concentrated
sources of sodium.

Michael Flippo - stock.adobe.com; Kraft Heinz

SALT IS EVERYWHERE
In efforts to reduce total sodium content of
meat and poultry, processors often adjust
multiple ingredients in a formula, as sodium
may be found in batters, binders, breadings,
brines, curing agents, emulsifiers, marinades
and more. These ingredients provide
functionality to meat systems, so reduction or
replacement may impact more than just taste.

Regardless of the application, the primary
source of sodium is sodium chloride, or
simply salt. Sodium is also a component
of other key ingredients used in meat and
poultry, such as sodium nitrite and sodium
nitrate (curing agents), sodium bicarbonate
(chemical leavener in breadings) and sodium
lactate (antimicrobial).
To reduce sodium content, sometimes a
formulator may simply cut back on the sodiumcontaining ingredient. Other times they may
swap the sodium salt with a potassium salt.
The reformulated product may require the
addition of a flavor potentiator to deliver on
taste, or the addition of food safety ingredients
to maintain shelf life. Salt is a multi-functional
ingredient, and all those functions must be
addressed when reducing sodium content.
" Adding salt to meat products helps
improve flavor, increase yield and
extend shelf life, so reducing sodium
can prove to be a complicated feat
in meat and poultry, " said Janice
Johnson, food science lead, Cargill
Salt, Minneapolis.
Tate & Lyle, Hoffman Estates, Ill.,
offers a sodium-reduction technology
that consists of tiny hollow
microspheres of salt. The hollow microsphere
structure of the salt crystals maximizes the
contact surface area relative to the weight,
allowing for a much better distribution of
sodium throughout the food product. This
makes it possible to deliver the same product
attributes such as salty taste, texture and other
functionalities with lower levels of sodium. The
hollow microspheres, which are labeled as salt
or sea salt, work well in breadings and lowmoisture meats.
Many processors have found that replacing
some of the sodium chloride in formulas
with potassium chloride is an efficient and
economical way to reduce sodium, sometimes
by as much as half. Potassium chloride
functions similar to sodium chloride in meat
products. Use comes with the added bonus of
introducing potassium into the formulation,
with this under-consumed nutrient known to
counter the effect of sodium on blood pressure.
" Through extensive research, we've
discovered that one of the best sodiumreduction solutions is potassium chloride. In
meat applications, it effectively upholds flavor

The Dietary Guidelines for
Americans have always
prioritized reducing
sodium intake both in
school lunches and in other
products such as readyto-eat meats and bacon.

www.meatpoultry.com | 01.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

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Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 3
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 4
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - vdg - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - vdg - 2
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 67
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 2
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