Potassium Chloride: A Solution For Low Sodium Meats
by Cargill InPerspective
Posted: 2018-02-27 15:30:27 EST

If you work in the food industry, you likely know why salt is an essential ingredient in meats; it naturally maintains taste, texture, water holding capacity, shelf-life, and of course overall quality and safety (1). Nevertheless, lowering sodium content in processed meat products has been heavily researched by food manufacturers due to both consumer demand and pressure from health and regulatory agencies (2). 

So how is it done? A wide array of sodium reduction solutions exist in the market, which presents a complicated decision for meat producers. “The challenge for processed-meat manufacturers is to identify innovative ingredient combinations and/or processing technologies that allow for sodium reduction or replacement with minimal or no negative impact on meat product attributes," says Wesley Osburn, Associate Professor at the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University (3).

To better understand the best sodium reduction solution for meat products, Cargill has conducted and evaluated numerous studies aimed at uncovering the optimal low sodium option for meats. One study by two notable food science Universities investigated the biochemical and sensory changes in dry-cured ham salted with partial replacements of NaCl by other chloride salts. The formulations included ham samples made with 100% sodium chloride (the control), a blend of 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride, and another blend of 55% sodium chloride, 25% potassium chloride, 15% calcium chloride, and 5% magnesium chloride. These particular blends were selected based on a lack of evidence verifying their success as low sodium options in dry-cured ham, though directional test results have indicated their potential (1).

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