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CU Letter to FDA Re. Use of Carbon Monoxide in Case-ready Meat

Treating packaged meat with CO produces a new, bright red pigment, carboxymyoglobin, and is therefore a food additive. This new color lasts indefinitely, even after extreme temperature abuse and beyond the point where spoilage will occur. Even USDA has acknowledged the risk of misrepresentation to consumers by noting that the use of carbon monoxide “with case ready fresh cuts of meat and ground beef could potentially mislead consumers into believing that they are purchasing a product that is fresher or of greater value than it actually is and may increase the potential for masking spoilage. CU asks the FDA to ban the use of carbon monoxide in fresh meat packaging and to take
the necessary steps toward a thorough legal and scientific review.