How Much Ham Is In Ham?

How much ham is in your ham? Edgar bought a bag of John Morrell Cooked Ham, a good deal at $2.50 for a pound. Afterwards, he noticed the caveat “and water product” and tiny print that said “35% of Weight is Added Ingredients.”

When asked for an explanation, John Morrel said:

The ham and water product is 35% added ingredients of ground ham shank and ham. This is not 35% of added “other ingredients” or “water and chemicals”.

Edgar asked how much water was in the product and John Morrel said:

Cured in a solution of 79% water.”

Edgar then asked, “In my package there is 16 oz (1 pound) of ham product. What percentage of the contents of that package is water?” And Morrel replied,

You have 1 lb of meat as the pkg states. When the ham is processed and cured it will weigh more then 1lb. It is allowed to “drain” until the ideal weight of 1 lb is reached. So the meat is 1 lb but the solution is drained to get to that weight.

According to the Department of Agriculture, as long as it says, “and water product,” less than 17% of the product need be “PFF” or “protein fat-free.” This number “does not denote the amount of real ham in a product.”

If you want more ham for your buck, make sure the package description doesn’t have any qualifiers. Just ham. Then you’re guaranteed at least 20.5% PFF. — BEN POPKEN

John Morrell Cooked Ham: Where’s the Beef? [MousePrint]