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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 558 | AIRED 10/04/2021

What Is Protein Injection in Meat and Seafood?

October 4th, 2021 --- What is protein injection… Why is it used… And how is it used in meat and seafood processing? These are some of the questions we get answers to in this special 3-Minute Market Insight where we interview Protein Suspension Injections veteran Joe Prego.

What is Protein Injection? Protein Suspension Injections is a 'natural way of enhancing the value of whole muscle cuts, with a low cost raw material. These days, with the advent of 'natural additives' that help with binding; Protein Injection can add value, as weight; can enhance the organoleptic quality of the ensuing product; and saves the producer revenues in capturing material that would normally be discarded or downgraded.

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Why is Protein Injection used? Protein Injection is used to enhance the value (weight) as well as to enhance the organoleptic character of the end product, without the use of other ingredients. The labeling laws also allow this with little declaration thereby enhancing the reputation of the producer that now can claim a cleaner label.

Who uses Protein Injection? Many manufacturers employ some version of Protein Injection. It all started in the late 80's with projects on beef pork and poultry. Injection of Protein suspensions into fish progressed with fish (first in the USA with CatFish, and later on with Cod and other species) in the early 2000's.


When is Protein Injection used? Protein injection is used exclusively at the point of injection. Most producers 'inject' with a brine or that is to say a water based solution with other ingredients, such as salt, spices, starches and phosphates. Protein Injection allows the producer to inject a 'heavier' brine or a suspension that can be done without the other less than label friendly ingredients.

Where is Protein Injection used? Different Protein Injection Processes are carried out on Poultry, Pork and Fish. It happens in production sites in China, Europe and in the USA. USDA and FDA and CFIS rules allow for the preparat ion and injection of these Protein Injection without labeling implications as long as like proteins is injected into like cuts. That is to say turkey protein into turkey, or cod into cod, etc.

Here are some Additional questions...

What exactly is getting injected into the seafood and meat? In simple injection enhancement, folks inject water salt and occasionally and if allowed Sodium Tripolyphosphates. Note however that in most of Europe, STP is not listed as an allowed ingredient in most fish applications. Manufacturers can also add other functional ingredients and flavor enhancers. In Protein Injections, the normal brines used are enhanced with solids that come from falloff from the filleting operation. One thing to remember is that this falloff and or miss cuts must be of good quality and must come from the same species.

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Are there additional labeling requirements?
Generally, due to favorable labeling rules accepted almost universally, there is no declaration warranted, as long as some simple rules are followed;
1. The Protein material to be injected has to come from the same species in fish and from the same species and labeld cut in poultry, pork and beef.
2. The amount of solids added (in the us) has to be less than15% of the green weight (USDA Policy Memo 041B)
3. Other added ingredient regulations need to be followed
4. At times I have known companies that employ Protein Injection to add a specific code to products made employing this process, purely as a means of tracking the products in their distribution chain. However, this in not a rule from the regulatory agencies.
Protein Injection does not change the nutritional make up of the finished product when compared to normally or brine injected products; as such there are no changes to the Nutritional Facts Label. As long as other ingredients are labeled correctly as per specific governmental rules; no other labeling applies nor does the process need be mentioned. Obviously, as long as ingredients included that are know allergens are noted and like material (same specie protein) is utilized; the process has no allergen implications.


Is there other (say Market Friendly) names that protein injection can be referred to as? There are and most of these are Trade marked by companies. Companies that supply the equipment and champion the process due have Trade Names, such as 'SuspenTec TM,' by Cozzini Inc., and 'Fish-into-Fish TM," by Traust Know-How..

For more information on Protein Suspension technology please contact your Tradex Foods representative.

--- Keep tuned into our 3-Minute Market as we have even more exciting episodes coming your way from “Debunking Seaspiracy” to “Recycling Ghost Fishing Gear”.

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