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'Enhanced' Meat High in Phosphate and Potassium

Additives may not be listed on label; may increase phosphate, potassium levels by two- or three-fold

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Uncooked meat and poultry products that have been "enhanced" with additives during processing often have much higher levels of phosphate and potassium compared with their additive-free versions, though the additives may not be listed on the label, according to a study published online July 23 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Richard A. Sherman, M.D., and Ojas Mehta, D.O., from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in New Brunswick, measured the phosphorus, potassium, and protein levels in 36 "enhanced" (addition of additives) and "regular" (additive-free) uncooked meat and poultry products.

The researchers found that the enhanced versions had average phosphate-protein ratios that were 28 percent higher than the additive-free versions, although some had ratios almost 100 percent higher. The average potassium content was 8.7 percent higher in enhanced products but varied widely. Additive-free products all had less than 387 mg potassium per 100 g compared with 692 mg or more per 100 g for the five enhanced products with the most potassium. They found that 16 of 25 enhanced products listed specific additives on the ingredient label.

"Uncooked meat and poultry products that are enhanced may contain additives that increase phosphorus and potassium content by as much as almost two- and three-fold, respectively; this modification may not be discernible from inspection of the food label," Sherman and Mehta conclude.

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