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Why Is Supermarket Meat So Red?

Meat Cosmetics: Why Is Grocery Store Beef Always Red? Grocery stores like to run at low-waste, especially for perishable products like meat. To cut down on possible waste, retailers focus on common-sense tactics like monitoring the temperatures of the display cases multiple times a day.

Carbon Monoxide Keeps Meat Red Even if It’s Spoiled The fact is that as much as 70 percent of meat sold in stores is treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat a deceptively fresh looking red color. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that is almost impossible to see, taste or smell.

The meat is uniformly red not various shades of red, brown and grey which would be truly reflective of when the meat department put each package in the display case.

Carbon Monoxide Keeps Supermarket Meat Red Even if It’s Spoiled. The fact is that as much as 70 percent of meat sold in stores is treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat a deceptively fresh looking red color. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that is almost impossible to see, taste or smell.

Why is meat red?

Due to the struggles with temperature consistency, atmospheric packaging was developed. When meat is exposed to carbon monoxide, it reacts with the myoglobin in the blood giving the meat a bright red color. Fresh beef is naturally red, and as it ages, it becomes brown or grey. The carbon monoxide keeps it looking artificially fresh for up to a full year by restricting the growth of bacteria that proliferate from the increased heat of supermarket meat display cases.

Once meat becomes exposed to air, oxidation begins which gradually turns the red color of the meat to a more unappetizing brown or grey color within just a few days.

The fact is that as much as 70 percent of meat sold in stores is treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat a deceptively fresh looking red color.

The internal temperature of retail meat is not supposed to exceed 39° Fahrenheit (4° Celsius) at any time. An increase of just a degree or two can result in an enormous increase in bacterial growth. For example, raising the temperature from 28°F (-2° C) to 29°F (-1.5° C) can cut the shelf life of meat in half.

If this sounds ridiculous to you as it does to me and the lure of cheap food is just a little less appealing after reading this article, consider a switch to small farm produced, grass-fed meats by clicking here. Online shopping for quality meat has now gone mainstream and is a fantastic way to get quality meat shipped to your door to bypass local supermarkets.

This never seems to happen to supermarket meat, does it? The meat is uniformly red not various sha des of red, brown and grey which would be truly reflective of when the meat department put each package in the display case.

Why is meat red?

Red Meat. Fresh meat in the supermarket is red because of the pigment called ” myoglobin ,” which stores oxygen in muscle cells. But myoglobin is only red when it is bonded to oxygen molecules. In live animals, the blood carries oxygen to the myoglobin; in freshly cut meat the oxygen comes directly from the air.

What Nitrites Do. Nitrites keep meat red by bonding to the myoglobin and acting as a substitute for the oxygen. Oxygen and sodium nitrate both turn myoglobin red, but nitrate attaches with a more stable bond and so the color lasts longer.

Although for several hundred years, nitrites and nitrates have been used to preserve the color of meat , more recent evidence shows that these chemicals also inhibit the growth of bacteria, including the bacteria that cause the deadly disease, botulism. Tweet.

Check any package of bacon, hotdogs, or cold cuts and chances are you’ll find nitrites listed among the ingredients.

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