Mechanically separated meat, also known as mechanically recovered/reclaimed meat, is a paste-like meat product produced by forcing beef, pork or chicken bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. Mechanically separated meat has been used in certain meat and meat products since the late 1960s. This product can be contrasted with meat extracted by advanced meat recovery systems.
Questions arose in the 1980s as to the safety of mechanically separated meat. In 1982, a report published by U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on mechanically separated meat said it was safe and established a standard of identity for the food product. Some restrictions were made on how much can be used and the type of products in which it can be used. These restrictions were based on concerns for limited intake of certain components in MSM like calcium. Mechanically separated meat must be labeled as “mechanically separated” beef, pork, chicken, or turkey in the ingredients statement. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20 percent mechanically separated beef or pork. The USDA’s final rule became effective November 4, 1996.
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