Meat treated with carbon monoxide

Fake freshness in the meat counter

While treating “pink slime” with ammonia has been in the news lately, another common practice has been less visible in the past few years: treating meat, poultry, and fish with carbon monoxide (CO) gas. 

CO is not a preservative, but it makes packaged meats look pink and fresh without the use of dyes–it actually prevents the product from changing color as it gets old. 

An estimated 70% of meat, poultry and fish sold in the US is treated with CO before going on to grocery store shelves. This “atmospheric packaging” is practiced in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and several European countries.

Proponents that’s not a problem and that appearance is not an indicator of freshness. Um, if that’s the case, why do it? 

Opponents say that artificially keeping meats from looking their age is a deceptive practice. 

Though this video is from 2007, treating meat with carbon monoxide is a common practice today.

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