WASHINGTON – New test methods for sodium and calcium in meat products are available in the Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook, which is published by the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). This new method took effect on Sept. 25.

The guidebook contains methods used to analyze food composition, food additives, nutrients, veterinary drug and pesticide residues. FSIS uses certain test methods to ensure accurate labeling of meat, poultry and egg products.

The new method is called ICP-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy, which uses Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) emission spectroscopy to analyze the nutritional elements sodium and calcium.

"This method is suitable for the measurement of sodium and calcium in fresh and ready-to-eat meat products at levels greater than or equal to 3 parts per million (ppm)," according to the American Meat Institute. "The test method provides pertinent information regarding equipment use, sample preparation, safety precautions and calculations, among other key procedures for the effective and accurate measurement of sodium and calcium in meat products."