The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

February 7, 2014

What to read into nutrition labels on raw meat

Q: When you read a nutrition facts label for raw meat, is the fat content listed for raw or cooked weight? If it's the cooked weight, is the manufacturer assuming the meat is rare or well done?

A: Good questions! Let's unravel this starting with a few bites of background on meat and poultry nutrition labels. First, definitions. Meats, sometimes called red meats, includes beef, lamb, pork and veal and the less commonly eaten bison, emu, venison, etc. Poultry includes chicken, turkey and the less commonly eaten duck, hen, goose, etc.

 In 1994, when the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 went into effect, our packaged foods got a facelift with the now familiar nutrition facts label. But it wasn't until 2012 that providing a nutrition facts labels was mandatory for manufacturers of single-ingredient raw meat and poultry products.

The Food and Drug Administration does the heavy lifting on food and nutrition labeling, but jurisdiction for meat and poultry products is under the Department of Agriculture's charge. The FDA takes the reins back for foods that contain less than 2 percent cooked meat. Think pork and beans, spaghetti sauce with meat or gravy mixes.

So it was the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service that in 2012 took nutrition labeling of meat and poultry products from voluntary to mandatory. The intent of this new rule, according to the FSIS, was to give shoppers a clearer sense of the options available and to help them make more-informed decisions.

 The 2012 rule mandated that packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry, such as hamburger or ground turkey, and the 40 most popular whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry, such as chicken breast or steak, feature the nutrition facts panel on the food's label or nearby on display in the market, says Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian in Washington and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

 The label must provide calories, grams of total fat and saturated fat based on the serving size. Ground or chopped meat or poultry that contains a lean percentage statement must now also list the percentage of fat in the product to allow for easier product comparisons. Manufacturers can voluntarily offer more information.

On packaged raw meat and poultry products, the nutrition facts are listed based on the product's raw weight. The serving size for nearly all raw meat and poultry products is four ounces. However, if the raw product was formed into patties, then the serving size would be the raw weight of each patty - for example, three ounces.

Here's a rule of thumb to translate from raw to cooked portions of meats and poultry. Dubost suggests that for meats, it's reasonable to estimate you'll lose about a quarter of the weight in cooking. So four ounces of raw meat with no bones will serve up roughly three ounces cooked. Dubost's estimate is corroborated by an evaluation of cooking yields for meats and poultry by the USDA's Nutrient Data Laboratory in late 2012.

To estimate the weight of cooked meat or poultry with bone in it, say a T-bone steak or chicken legs, figure you'll lose another ounce. So, four ounces raw with bones will result in two ounces cooked.

Do figure on variation based on several factors: cut of meat, amount of fat, whether it contains bones or skin, preparation method and how well you cook it. For example, a four-ounce raw portion of lean meat grilled to rare will lose less weight than if that steak had more fat on it and was cooked well done.

So what about that cut of red meat or burger you order in a restaurant? Menus typically refer to a raw weight, not the weight of the food served to you. This is based on an industry standard, not a regulation.

A hamburger described as a quarter of a pound (four ounces) will be about three ounces by the time you bite into it, and that eight-ounce filet will be about six ounces cooked. Menu labeling (at least at restaurant chains with more than 20 locations serving the same menu) will eventually be affected by regulations being developed under the Affordable Care Act. "I suspect once the restaurant menu labeling regulations go into effect, the nutrition information for meats and poultry items will be reported for cooked weights," Dubost said.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

E-edition
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" Trailer is Here! Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear
Must Read