What Is Mechanically Separated Meat?

Do you know what mechanically separated meat is? Abbreviated CSM, this product is particular processing of meat that remains attached to the bones, a cut that would normally end up wasted.

Mechanically separated meat is an ingredient in several large-scale retail recipes. It is a product obtained from what is normally considered production waste: chicken carcasses, for example, or bones still to be pulped. Many consider this food, often used in fast food and in preparations such as sausages, unhealthy, but is it right to worry?

How to make mechanically separated meat?

Let’s start with a definition: according to the European Regulation, mechanically separated meat means the ” product obtained by removing the meat from fleshy bones after boning or from poultry carcasses, using mechanical means that lead to the loss or modification of the muscle-fibrous structure “.

In simpler words, what remains attached to the bones of poultry and other animals, is meat that in the process completely loses its typical texture and structure.

Mechanically separated meat can be obtained with different types of procedures, which tend to be divided into two categories: high-pressure processing and low-pressure processing. The difference is that the first type returns more processed meat, almost similar to a portion of pasta, while the second is closer to the more known minced meat.

This ingredient is found in preparations such as sausages, SPAM tinned meat, some chicken nuggets, and other products such as the filling of some meat tortelli.

Is mechanically separated meat bad for you?

Many think that mechanically separated meat is bad for its origin from meat processing waste, but in reality, the question is not that simple. On the one hand, according to EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, the risks of contamination are higher for the particular process.

On the other hand, if the safety protocols within the company are respected, the finished product does not offer any additional risk to the consumer.

From a nutritional point of view, the question changes: mechanically separated meat tends to be qualitatively much poorer than higher quality cuts. In particular, the calories tend to be more in this type of product, while, at the same time, the quality proteins are less.

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