Food Crime Friday: Oscar Mayer Carving Board Meats

Food companies are becoming more aware of the health conscious consumer’s desire for less processed foods. To reach this market, companies could start stripping down the number of ingredients and using less processing to create their products.  But, that would be too easy.  Instead, some companies are actually doing more processing – to make their products appear less processed.

Case in point: Oscar Mayer’s Carving Board Meats.

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These meats have ragged cuts, and darkened edges to make the meat look like it was just carved from a roast.  Their advertising would even make you think it is equivalent to what you would get from a Thanksgiving dinner.


But what they don’t advertise is what you’ll find right in the ingredients list.

Carving ingredients

Those darkened edges are just created with caramel food coloring.  Sodium nitrites (linked to cancer in some studies) are used to preserve the meat.  And the sodium content is far higher than anything one would get from a roast cooked in their own kitchen.  Major health organizations recommend that we consume no more than 1500-2300 mg of sodium daily (depending on your age and health.)  Carving Board meats contain anywhere from 540-630 mg of sodium per serving. This means that one sandwich (if you follow the recommended serving size) would eat up more than 1/4 of your daily needs – and that’s not including any condiments or other toppings.  Yikes.

Don’t fall for this one, folks.  This product line is nothing more than regular, overly-salted, heavily processed Oscar Meyer deli meat with a cosmetic face lift.

Food Label Frenzy: How Food Companies Profit from Your Healthy Intentions

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When it comes to food, the word ‘local’ has become synonymous with the local foods movement. The term ‘locally grown’ SHOULD refer to foods sold relatively close to where they were produced.  But when it’s used in ad campaigns for companies like Philadelphia Cream Cheese as seen below, you know it has lost all significance.

While I haven’t seen this particular buzz word on food labels yet, I’m assuming it is only a matter of time.  Food companies love those trendy little words and phrases, like ‘all-natural’ and ‘made with whole grain’, because they are quick to catch the eye of the health-conscious consumer, and help sell more products.   But, these claims can also confuse and mislead.  Most have little or no real meaning, and are an easy disguise for what is REALLY hiding in our food.

This slideshow will show you 10 of the industry’s favorites, and hopefully stop you from being duped on your next visit to the grocery store.