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Hy-Vee Pork - Butcher Question

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I know there's a bunch of us midwest folks who shop at Hy-Vee. Today I was in there grabbing some groceries and was looking at the pork stuff. Everything there that is prepacked is Hormel and all says that it's enhanced. Sometimes I'll grab it but mostly I'll buy it from the open case. I've always assumed this was fresh product that they cut in-house.

So for the first time ever, as I was grabbing some pork chops, I asked the guy behind the counter if they were enhanced. He looked really confused. I explained that everything they had prepacked was solution enhanced Hormel product. He informed me that all their pork was Hormel. And as far as he knew, it was the same stuff that was packaged.

So before I get really frustrated by calling them and never being able to talk to anyone that actually knows anything about the product other than how to weigh and package, does anybody know if this is true? Does Hormel have fresh product that is NOT enhanced? Now I don't know what I'm buying. I just assumed that because the packaged stuff states that it's enhanced, and the in the case does not have a sign, that it was not enhanced.
post #2 of 17
Many pork producers have both enhanced and regular pork lines.
It is there way of getting money from as many people as possible.
People who dont really know how to cook like enhanced pork because its hard to dry out. The nitrates they pump in it holds moisture in as it cooks,making it juicier. Lots of people still want un-enhanced pork so they get money from both sides...Greedy aint it?
As far as I was told, even fresh cut pork has to have labeling that states if it is enhanced. So even if the counter jockey that you talked to didn't know ,the label should state it.
Hope this helps.
post #3 of 17
Call the meat manager (it's a gamble, but he should know) an ask him. Some a the stores simply open up a package an put it in the case. Fareway here does that an I don't know bout Hy-vee, ain't got any faith in the meat manager here after the Bob Evans rib scandel!mad.gif
post #4 of 17
Yep, law states that labeling has to declare if the meat is enhanced with a solution. If they are getting primal cuts from Hormel, they may not be enhanced, since that is usually a retail-packaging marketing feature. Large producers have two lines, as was stated in a post above.You might want to ask the person to check the label on his master cases. They will tell the story if they are enhanced.
post #5 of 17
Been out of the business too long to know; 15 years ago all your pork came in boxes with oil paper on it, loins and butts individually wrapped in paper, spare ribs and offals in a plastic bag liner and loose; nothing COV'd except some new-fangled packages of pork tenderloins that were two-to-a-package; don't think they were enhanced back then, just priced and put them out. Butts, hams, shoulders, loins and bellies were paper-wrapped and loose in boxes.
Today, it would seem unlikely bone-in product would be injected if it's going to be processed; otherwise you'd have poke holes from the injector permeating the meat as well as membrane expansion, such as blowing up layers of fat or muscle via injections.
Now, with boneless cuts, it is highly possible and almost a certainty that if the COV package has reached it's sell-by date, the package is opened and sliced/merchandised to sell it; you don't just throw away center cut chunks of boneless roasts, etc. because of a package date. I would think that if it were enhanced you'd have to label it as such, but such fine differences could easily be ignored.
post #6 of 17
I'll check and get back to you - my son works at Hy-Vee meat dept - high school help so he may not know, but would know who to ask.

However, I do not believe their non-Hormel meat is enhanced. I'll see if I can find out where they buy from.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone.

Husker-Q, that would be great. But just to be clear, the guy behind the counter said it was ALL Hormel...or so he thought.
post #8 of 17
Not all Hormel and not all enhanced. They have different places that they get their meat from such as Hormel, PDI etc.

Have a relative that manages the Hy-vee down here and friend that works in the same store. Hope this helps.
post #9 of 17

asked the son to check it out - Beef comes from Amana Beef and the pork generally comes from Seaboard Foods. Consensus was that it's not enhanced unless it says enhanced.

I suppose possible that different stores get from different suppliers too.
post #10 of 17
Not Hy-Vee, but some local Chicago chain grocers take the enhanced pork, take it out of the cryo, and put it in the meat case and sell it without acknowledging it is "enhanced". PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif

thats why I dont shop at these places or at the very least buy my pork there, no matter how cheap it is.
post #11 of 17
El Duderino - From what I know 99% of the meat that HyVee sells comes from PDI in Ankeny (HyVee owns PDI) The only stuff that isn't would be like the Graziano's Italian Sausage etc.

Most of the pork is Hormel, but Hormel ships the product to PDI who then distributes it to all of the stores. To follow up on Husker Q, PDI also distributes the Amana Beef to the stores.

I think your best bet would be to get in there (or call) on a weekday morning and the manager of the meat department should be working.

Best of luck!!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks man. Now stop into roll call and introduce yourself. You seem a little suspicious to me.
post #13 of 17
Jay, I would try searching the other locations, here on the south side we only get the hormel enhanced versions but several times when I was back home on the east side I have seen fresh butts in the case, they are marked as fresh butts and not crivovacked just on foam trays with shrink wrap, the downside is they are always double packed just like sams so if you don't want two butts your out of luck.
post #14 of 17
I worked at Hy-Vee a while back in the KC area while I was in and just out of HS, in both the meat department and the Kitchen dept. I can't remember any meat that didn't come from PDI (I can confirm petitjoel said regarding PDI, and Hy-Vee owning them), though can't comment on the sausage not coming from PDI, I quit working there the final time (did 3 different terms there) about 10 years ago and I don't remember anything not coming on the PDI truck, but it's been a while. I'm very possibly wrong.

Don't know about whether it's enhanced or not, but the case stuff definitely came to us in different packaging than the stuff that we put out. The items we put out we really just priced and put on the shelf. The case stuff wasn't packaged for sale, as it was intended solely for the case.

Hope it helps a little!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, just so everyone doesn't think I was being a jerk, I know pettitjoel. I haven't talked to him in a couple of years so I was just flipping him a little crap.
post #16 of 17
I guess the bottom line is you should never trust the guy at the store to know what he's talking about. Unfortunately, it's a lesson I have to learn over and over.

Oh, and it only took me 5 minutes to figure out that Hy-Vee wasn't some new military vehicle.

It's all Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly down here! PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #17 of 17

My Hy-Vee meat guy, in Grinnell, says everything in the case and those prepacked on a WHITE tray are sodium enhanced. 

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