WASHINGTON – A new educational video on salt’s role in meat and poultry products, featuring meat scientist Betsy Booren, Ph.D., director of scientific affairs of the American Meat Institute Foundation, was released on April 20 by the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.)

Planned to be released weekly beginning April 20, eight new videos will complement A.M.I.’s existing series, “Ask the Meat Science Guy,” and will provide answers to many of the questions consumers pose about meat and poultry.

The first new video in the series, released on A.M.I.’s YouTube channel –

the Meat News Network, addresses questions consumers have about the most common salt used in food products, sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt.

Ms. Booren reminds consumers in the video that fresh, unprocessed meat and poultry products, such as a pork chop or a steak, contain very low levels of salt. But when making products like salami, hot dogs, bacon and deli meats, Ms. Booren said salt is added to reduce and prevent bacteria growth, to extend shelf-life, help the product maintain a uniform texture, keep the meat moist and enhance taste and flavor.

Only three of the top 20 sodium-contributing foods consumed by Americans are meat products or food products that contain meat, according to an analysis of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (C.D.C.) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N.H.A.N.E.S.) data.

However, Ms. Booren acknowledges efforts to reduce sodium intake.

“The meat industry is responding with efforts to offer a wide variety of reduced or low-sodium products to meet different nutrition needs, such as hot dogs with 250 milligrams of sodium or less and lower and very low sodium deli meats, bacon, ham and breakfast sausage that are made with 140 milligrams of sodium or less,” she said.

To watch the two-minute video, visit the Meat News Network on YouTube at http://www.YouTube.com/MeatNewsNetwork.

Each Tuesday during the next two months, A.M.I. plans to release one video as part of its commitment to answer commonly asked questions about shopping, preparation, cooking and nutrition of various meat and poultry products.

“Consumer research shows there is a knowledge gap in information about meat and poultry products,” said Janet Riley, A.M.I. senior vice president of public affairs and member services. “We hope that this video campaign will build on our current library of educational videos and help close that gap.”