Grocers Distance Themselves from Red Meat
By George Anderson
Grocery chains selling it are going to stop and those not selling it are not going to start. That was the reaction by a number of major supermarkets to reports questioning whether a packaging process that uses carbon monoxide to keep meat red is deceiving consumers into thinking they are buying fresh product when they are not.
According to a New York Times report, Publix and Kroger said they would stop selling the meat while those not presently carrying it, including H-E-B, Stop & Shop and Wegmans, said they would not stock meat packaged in this manner.
Maria Brous, a spokesperson for Publix, explained the company’s decision. “Our customers rely on Publix to provide them with the freshest quality meat product. Anything intended to compromise the quality of freshness would be deceptive to customers,” she told The Ledger.
The advantages of maintaining meat’s red color is supported by studies that show consumers are less likely to purchase meat that has turned brown.
The Food and Drug Administration addressed concerns about the safety of meat in packaging that uses the carbon monoxide process.
Laura Tarantino, director of the Office of Food Additive Safety at the F.D.A., said: “If we had evidence that consumers would be misled into buying meat that was spoiled or was dangerous for them because it contained pathogens because of the use of this technology, that’s something we would have been very concerned about and would have been cause for us to object, and we have no evidence that that’s the case.”
Moderator’s Comment: Are grocers taking the right position on case-ready meat that uses carbon monoxide to retain
its red color? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Stores React to Meat Reports – The New York Times (free reg. required)
- Publix, Winn-Dixie Weigh In on Meat – The Ledger