2
   

CO2 injected meat packages - bad stuff!!

 
 
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 06:44 am
I knew this was wrong well over a year ago! I wondered why my ground beef wasn't turning brown in my fridge after a couple days, so I contacted the store where I shop, and then the meat packager in the mid-west and was told about the CO2 injections.
This just didn't sound right to me, for all the reasons listed in this article below. I let my local store know that I wouldn't be purchasing meat from them as long as they supplied these packages, and found another store that assured me their meat was ground fresh in the store.

I'm so glad that other consumers, and other grocery chains, have finally followed suit to end this practice!!



Keeping meat red and customers in the dark
By Jacqueline Ostfeld
August 9, 2007

In the shadow of the Chinese import scare, U.S. consumers have won a victory. The retail giant Safeway, responding to pressure by public interest advocates and members of Congress, recently pulled carbon monoxide-treated meat from its shelves.

Carbon monoxide in meat? Unbelievably, in 2004, the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture gave their blessing to a number of large meat packers (including Tyson, Hormel and Cargill Foods) to inject CO in their case-ready meat products. It is unlikely that CO injections themselves present a poison risk. But they pose a public-health and consumer-fraud hazard.

Treating packaged meat with CO extends its shelf life by keeping it red long after it begins to spoil. In fact, gassed meat holds its color for upward of one year, whereas CO-free packaged meat typically starts to turn after just 10 to 12 days on the shelf. It's easy to see why the meat industry likes CO: Gassed meat could save retailers $1 billion annually in lost sales resulting from that finicky consumer aversion to browning meat.


Why would the government permit this practice? After all, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act provides that a "food shall be deemed to be adulterated ... if damage or inferiority has been concealed in any manner; or if any substance has been added thereto or mixed or packed therewith so as to ... make it appear better or of greater value than it is." This bar on concealing adulteration is what drove the Agriculture Department to ban the use of paprika in fresh meat products in 1969. CO injections are no different: Their sole purpose is to conceal inferiority and damage.

According to a poll conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, the majority of consumers directly equate color with the freshness of their meat. That same poll found that more than three-quarters of U.S. consumers believe the use of CO in meat is deceptive, and more than two-thirds think gassed meat should be labeled. A leading meat scientist has observed that consumers "rate color as the most important trait in selecting fresh meat."

The proper way to keep meat red is by temperature control. Meat should be kept at or below the freezing point during distribution, and under 40 degrees Fahrenheit upon arrival at a retail store. When temperatures exceed 40, meat enters the "danger zone." It's not uncommon for temperatures in the display case at the grocery store to be as high as 50, which could cause premature spoilage and provide a nurturing environment for the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Because of color-preserving CO injections, such temperature-control failures are not apparent to the consumer.

That's why the Agriculture Department originally sent a letter to the FDA voicing concerns that CO-treated meat might mask spoilage and delude consumers. But two months later, the agency reversed its position. The USDA's final decision to endorse this deceptive and hazardous marketing practice was the result of closed-door meetings with industry officials - meetings that excluded public participation. The public has no way of knowing right now why the USDA turned tail. Food safety watchdogs are seeking agency records through the Freedom of Information Act to shine a light on the decision-making process that sanctioned CO-treated meat.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, has introduced a bill to ban CO in meat packaging. She has also called on the FDA to consider consumer behavior and conduct an independent investigation into the safety of CO. Right now, the FDA is relying solely on limited industry data in giving CO injections a clean bill of health. In addition, Reps. Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan, and Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, have introduced a bill that would force the industry to label CO-treated meat, should the ban fail.

Before Safeway's decision to bar CO-gassed meat, a number of large retailers had already acknowledged the public health risks and consumer distaste for faux-fresh meat. Whole Foods, Wegmans, Publix, Super- fresh, Stop & Shop, Kroger, Pathmark and a handful of other grocers have refused to carry gassed meat. Good for them. But many distributors continue to carry CO-treated meat, and until the government says they can't, there's no way to eyeball the freshness of shelved meat. And that has consumers still seeing red.



Jacqueline Ostfeld is food and drug safety officer at the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization. Her e-mail is [email protected].
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,861 • Replies: 9
No top replies

 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 07:01 am
Anything from factory farms is bad for you and worse for the animals that suffer the process. Buy organic and buy local. Consumers get what they are willing to pay for. Chicken McYuckies cost the same as organic chicken when you figure it out pound for pound.
0 Replies
 
Coolwhip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 11:13 am
CO injections in meat and fish is to my knowledge illegal where I live, with good reason IMO. There are storys of food poisoning because it's impossible to judge the quality of the fish from looking at it. Tuna injected with CO looks like salmon! Salmon! (For the record, tuna should be light brown.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 11:39 am
That's CO, not CO2......

but I agree with Green Witch.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 12:06 pm
ossobuco wrote:
That's CO, not CO2......




Yeah, I was confused by the thread title because of that.

I thought "CO2? so what?"



reminds me of when I was in college and freaked out because I found out a slovenly roomate had herpes. back then, everyone thought I was nuts for my reaction.

one gal came up to me and said "you don't have to worry chai, it's herpes SIMPLEX" Rolling Eyes

I'm sure glad it wasn't herpes duplex.
0 Replies
 
happycat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 01:11 pm
I know it's supposed to be CO not CO2. That was my typo. Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 01:16 pm
No biggie, I was just saying..
0 Replies
 
happycat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 01:19 pm
ossobuco wrote:
No biggie, I was just saying..


I know....but I knew I'd made the mistake, but I had to go out this morning and didn't have time to fix it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2007 01:25 pm
I usually don't see my typos in the thread headline until sometime later, oy.
0 Replies
 
CO2 Man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Sep, 2007 03:42 pm
CO maybe bad CO2 not bad
Make sure you have your facts straight the difference between CO and CO2 is more than just one Oxygen molecule. CO2 is the only anti-microbial gas in the atmosphere and will slow down bacterial counts but wont make bad meat look good. CO artificially holds and adds color to meat and seafood Which would you rather have?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Quiznos - Discussion by cjhsa
Should We Eat Our American Neighbours? - Question by mark noble
Favorite Italian Food? - Discussion by cjhsa
The Last Thing You Put In Your Mouth.... - Discussion by Dorothy Parker
Dessert suggestions, please? - Discussion by msolga
 
  1. Forums
  2. » CO2 injected meat packages - bad stuff!!
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 06/28/2022 at 07:32:06