Beef Producers Defend Carbon Monoxide in Packaging

US - The nation's major beef producers on Tuesday defended a method of preserving the meat's color by infusing it with carbon monoxide.
calendar icon 1 November 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

Food industry executives told the House Agriculture Committee the process has no adverse health effects because the air composition in the packaging used in the process is less than a half-percent carbon monoxide.

Environmental groups argued beef infused with the gas poses a health concern because even spoiled meat will maintain its bright red color.

Consumers determine whether to eat the product based on its color, they said, and there is no indication whether carbon-monoxide treated beef is fresh or safe, according to the group Food and Water Watch.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods, Inc., stopped using the process in August, but not for safety reasons, said Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman.

Tyson Foods had used carbon monoxide in "a very small percentage" of beef packaging, he said.

"We decided to discontinue this practice because of a lack of consumer demand for this type of packaging, not because of any food safety concern," Mickelson said. "We believe the technology, which is approved by the USDA and FDA, is safe for the consume and we continue to explore other ways to safely use it."

Source: Arkansas News Bureau

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