Is Honey Baked Ham Turkey Processed? (Explained By Experts)

Are you a fan of Honey Baked Ham’s delicious and succulent turkey?

If so, you may be wondering whether it falls under the category of processed meat. With all the buzz around the health risks associated with processed meat, it’s important to know what you’re consuming.

In this article, we’ll explore the facts and answer the question: Is Honey Baked Ham turkey processed?

From understanding what processed meat is to examining the ingredients and preparation methods used by Honey Baked Ham, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your turkey consumption.

So, let’s dive in!

Is Honey Baked Ham Turkey Processed?

To answer the question, yes, Honey Baked Ham turkey is considered processed meat. Processed meat is defined as any meat that has been preserved through salting, smoking, curing, or by adding chemical preservatives.

Honey Baked Ham’s turkey is fully cooked and arrives at their retail stores from federally-inspected meat and poultry processors. The turkey is then sliced and packaged for sale. While the turkey may not have undergone the same chemical treatments as their ham products, it still falls under the category of processed meat due to its preservation method.

What Is Processed Meat?

Processed meat is any meat that has undergone some form of preservation or flavoring process. This can include methods such as salting, curing, fermenting, smoking, or the addition of chemical preservatives. The aim of processing meat is to improve its taste and extend its shelf life. Processed meat products are usually made from pork or beef, but can also include poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood. Common examples of processed meat include bacon, ham, sausages, salami, corned beef, jerky, hot dogs, lunch meat, canned meat, chicken nuggets, and meat-based sauces.

It is important to note that not all processed meats are created equal. While some may contain harmful substances that increase the risk of cancer and other health issues, others may be less harmful. For example, meat that has been frozen or undergone mechanical processing like cutting and slicing is still considered unprocessed.

The Ingredients In Honey Baked Ham Turkey

The ingredients in Honey Baked Ham turkey are listed on their nutrition page and do not contain wheat or gluten. The main ingredients include turkey breast, turkey broth, salt, and various preservatives such as sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, and sodium diacetate. The turkey is also glazed with a mixture of sugar, gelatin, paprika (color), maltodextrin, food starch – modified, dextrose, refinery syrup, honey, spices, natural flavoring, and brown sugar. Invert sugar is also used in the glaze.

The seasoning used in the glaze includes salt, dextrose, sugar, natural flavoring, and artificial maple flavor. The artificial maple flavor is made up of sugar, modified food starch, caramel color, natural flavors, maltodextrin, and corn syrup. It’s important to note that Honey Baked Ham has reformulated their glaze in the past to remove gluten and soy, making their hams and turkeys safe for those on a gluten-free diet.

The Preparation Process Of Honey Baked Ham Turkey

Honey Baked Ham turkey is fully cooked and pre-sliced, making it easy to reheat and serve. However, reheating pre-sliced turkey can cause it to dry out or overcook, resulting in a loss of texture and flavor. The Honey Baked Ham Company recommends heating the turkey by the slice on low heat to retain its moisture and flavor.

To prepare your Honey Baked Ham turkey, preheat your oven to 250°F and remove the turkey from its packaging. It’s important to cover the turkey with foil to retain its moisture while heating. Place the sliced turkey on a baking sheet and heat it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F.

While the turkey is heating, you can prepare a honey glaze to add flavor and moisture. Mix together honey, brown sugar, melted butter, ground cloves, garlic powder, and Dijon mustard to create a sweet and savory glaze. Once the turkey is heated through, take it out of the oven and brush it with the honey glaze. Return it to the oven and bake at 400°F for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the glaze has browned.

It’s important not to overheat the turkey as this can cause it to dry out. The Honey Baked Ham Company recommends heating their turkey until it’s just warm, rather than hot. This will ensure that the turkey retains its moisture and flavor.

The Health Risks Of Consuming Processed Meat

Processed meat has been linked to numerous health risks, including an increased risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified processed meat as a carcinogen, which means that it causes cancer. Studies have shown that consuming 50 grams of processed meat per day, which is equivalent to one hot dog or two slices of ham, can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 16%.

The high sodium content in processed meat is also a concern for health. Sodium levels are about 400% higher in processed meats than unprocessed meats on average. Too much sodium can cause blood vessels to stiffen and stress the heart and kidneys. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but many people consume much more than this. One ounce of deli turkey can contain more than 500 mg of sodium, and when combined with other ingredients in a sandwich, the sodium content can quickly add up.

Processed meats may also contain nitrates used to cure the meat, which can be converted in the body to nitrites and potentially become cancer-causing nitrosamines. Even meats labeled as “no nitrates added” may contain natural substitutes such as celery powder or juice that end up containing just as much nitrate and nitrite as traditionally cured meats.

While occasional consumption of processed meat is unlikely to have an appreciable health impact, experts suggest limiting or avoiding both processed red meat and poultry. The evidence suggests that no “safe threshold” exists for processed meat consumption, and even moderate consumption can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how much processed meat you consume and consider alternative sandwich options such as tuna or hummus.

Alternatives To Processed Turkey

If you’re looking for alternatives to processed turkey, there are plenty of options available that are just as delicious and easy to prepare. Here are some healthy and tasty alternatives to consider:

1. Roasted chicken: A rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store is a great alternative to processed turkey. It’s already cooked and ready to eat, making it a convenient option for a quick and easy sandwich filling.

2. Canned tuna or salmon: Canned tuna or salmon is an excellent source of lean protein and omega-3 fats. Opt for “chunk light” tuna, which is low in mercury, or canned salmon, which is even lower in mercury and higher in omega-3s.

3. Egg salad: Hard-boiled eggs are a nutritious and affordable source of protein. Mash them up with a little bit of mayo and some diced veggies for a delicious and filling sandwich filling.

4. In-store roasted meat: Some grocery stores offer freshly roasted pork, beef, bison, or turkey at their deli counters. This is a great option if you want fresh meat without the added preservatives found in processed meats.

5. Veggies: Don’t underestimate the power of veggies! Load up your sandwich with your favorite raw or roasted veggies, like cucumber, tomato, spinach, or roasted red peppers. Add some hummus or avocado for extra flavor and nutrition.

By choosing these alternatives to processed turkey, you can still enjoy a delicious and satisfying sandwich without the added health risks associated with processed meats.