When you are searching for a good steak, pork chops or chicken at your grocery store, one of the main things you look for is the color of the meat. Nobody wants a steak that’s grey and tarnished. You normally look for the red juicy steak that you believe is “fresh.”. Well, looks can be deceiving.
Treated With Carbon Monoxide
Yes, that’s right, meat is treated with carbon monoxide gas to keep it fresh for WEEKS! As you see in the video above, the meat that was not treated with carbon monoxide began to change color in about 4 days while the treated one remained red for a few weeks. This tactic is used to trick customers into thinking the meat they purchase is fresh when in reality it could have been sitting on the shelf for weeks. This is not only for meat, but for seafood too!
Banned In Other Countries
Other countries such as Japan and Canada have banned carbon monoxide gas in their meat. According to the The Washington Post, Europe has banned using carbon monoxide in meat to make it appear fresh years ago. They note that the European Union has banned using carbon monoxide gas as a color stabilizer in meat and fish. A December 2001 report from the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food concluded that the gas (whose chemical abbreviation is “CO”) did not present a threat as long as food was kept cold enough during storage and transportation to prevent microbial growth. However, should the meat become accidentally warmer at some point, it warned, “the existence of CO may mask visual evidence of spoilage.”. How is it, Berdahl and others ask, that something can be deemed ” generally recognized as safe” when there is enough clinical argument over the problem to warrant a ban in Europe?
Is Carbon Monoxide Gas Dangerous?
There is much debate on whether carbon monoxide gas treated meat is dangerous to human health. The healthy home economist shares that it might be more harmful than the FDA says … Carbon monoxide gas is fatal if inhaled in large quantities since the CO particle attaches to hemoglobin in the blood and changes oxygen in the bloodstream. Even minor exposure can cause fatigue, headaches and confusion. Increasing exposure results in unconsciousness and then death. People who are fortunate enough to make it through poisoning with carbon monoxide often continue to struggle with neurological problems. In spite of the danger, customer groups have been unsuccessful over the last few years to stop the deceptive practice of treating supermarket meat with carbon monoxide.
Why Is This Continuing?
There is a substantial need for meat and seafood in the United States. Because of this, meat packaging companies are trying to make the meat stay looking fresh when in reality, it could be 2 to 3 weeks old. The meat market would lose a lot of money if the use carbon monoxide was banned. They wouldn’t be able to trick the customer anymore!
How To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Treated Meat
The easiest way to avoid meat and seafood treated with carbon monoxide it to get it from your local farmer rather than at the grocery store. Usually, local farmer’s markets have fresh seafood, pork, and many make it possible to purchase a whole cow! If you know the farmer selling the meat, you can generally rely on that they are not treating their meat with any carbon monoxide gas. The other choice is to get your meat straight from your local butcher.