Does uncooked poultry contain added sodium?

Ask Peggy

Ask Peggy

DEAR PEGGY: My husband is on a low-salt diet, so I was alarmed to learn that uncooked poultry often contains added sodium. How can I identify those cuts? —J.W., Blue Springs, Missouri

Poultry processors must note anything that has been added to the meat. For example, when poultry is injected with a mixture to keep it moist, the label must indicate that the product contains a solution of water, salt and sodium phosphate.

Meats packaged in a processing plant carry a Nutrition Facts label listing the total amount of sodium per serving; however, that label isn't required on meat packaged in grocery stores.

The amount of injected sodium varies. Chicken breasts can have as little as 119 mg of added sodium per serving (5% of the recommended daily maximum), and turkey breasts may contain as much as 373 mg (16% of the daily maximum). And remember that 40 to 50 mg of sodium already occurs naturally in these products.

Even though it costs more per pound, poultry that is free from additional sodium is available and is labeled as such.