A Woolworths shopper ignited a heated debate about dodgy supermarket practices after making a discovery about meat sold at the supermarket this week, but the retailer says it's procedures are above board.
"Woolies now proudly displaying that they fill their beef with water. They're really taking us for idiots at this point," a customer posted on Reddit alongside a photo that shows the retailer's topside roasts are "moisture infused".
As shoppers argued over the pros and cons of infusing meat with moisture, a popular TikToker caused a stir by comparing beef mince bought from a butcher with that purchased at a major New Zealand supermarket. The Kiwi man, who goes by @thecontraversialkiwi, questioned why his 1kg supermarket mince had lost some 290g after it had been cooked, while the mince from the butcher only lost about 90g.
Woolworths provides answers
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a Woolworths spokesperson explained that moisture is added to some meat products in order enhance their texture and flavour. "We know beef, topside roasts taste great when cooked correctly, but they can dry out if you're not careful," the spokesperson said. "This roast is infused with a small amount of brine to help make them a bit easier for the home cook to perfect."
"The range was developed by our in-house chefs, and customer feedback about the quality of the product has been positive to date," the spokesperson said.
For customers who might be concerned they're not getting all the meat they're paying for due to extra moisture increasing the weight of the product, the spokesperson added: "We understand the range may not appeal to everyone, so we continue to stock traditional beef roasts in our stores as well."
'Been around for centuries'
A former butcher backed up Woolies' claims, explaining on Reddit that the practice has "literally been around for centuries". He said some meats are infused with a food additive consisting of sodium nitrite, salt and water "to break the silvers a little and make the meat more tender, while offering it a longer shelf life."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.