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Color of Fresh Meat in Supermarket Display Cases

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Color of Fresh Meat in Supermarket Display CasesThe color of fresh meat in supermarket display cases forms a first impression that strongly influences consumers' selection of fresh meat. The pigment myoglobin which determines the color of fresh meat undergoes various chemical reactions to form other pigments. These reactions are triggered by light, heat, and oxygen availability.

 

 

FRESH MEAT BLOOMING IN GROCERY STORE MERCHANDISERS
Within half an hour of exposure to oxygen and light, fresh meat blooms: myoglobin becomes oxygenated forming oxymyoglobin, a characteristically red pigment that causes the meat to turn from purple to the appropriate shade of red or pink. <more...>


FRESH MEAT DISCOLORATION IN RETAIL MEAT SHOWCASES
With continued exposure to light, the fresh meat’s appealing red or pink bloom is replaced by an unappetizing and permanent brown or grey color. This change is initiated when the light source emits high levels of ultraviolet and yellow wavelengths, which accelerates the rate of meat decomposition.<more...>


TEMPERATURE AND FRESH MEAT COLOR IN SUPERMARKET MEAT CABINETS
Regular display case lighting emits heat, as well as radiation that is transformed into heat when it is trapped within the meat’s packaging, and can increase the surface temperature of displayed meat, encouraging the exponential growth of bacteria. <more...>


PH AND FRESH MEAT COLOR IN GROCERY STORE MEAT CABINETS
If the pH of fresh meat drops too rapidly or is at a very low level, the meat becomes pale, soft, and exudative (PSE), and if the pH does not drop at all or is at a high level, the meat becomes dark, firm, and dry (DFD). <more...>

For meat science references and excerpts click here.

Temperature and Fresh Meat Color in Supermarket Meat Cabinets

E. coli BacteriaTemperatures above -1.5° C (29.3° F) encourage the exponential growth of bacteria, which consume the oxygen near the surface of the meat, hastening the creation of the brown pigment metmyoglobin.

Even small temperature increases have a profound effect on the growth of bacteria which leads to meat spoilage. Regular display case lighting emits heat, as well as radiation that is transformed into heat when it is trapped within the meat’s packaging, and can cause the surface temperature of displayed meat to be much higher than the temperature of the refrigerated display case.

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pH and Fresh Meat Color in Grocery Store Meat Cabinets

The pH of fresh meat naturally falls from about 7 to about 5.5 over a period of 24 hours after the animal is slaughtered. However, genetic problems or mishandling of the animal or carcass can affect the pH of the muscle tissue adversely.

If the pH drops too rapidly or is at a very low level, the meat becomes pale, soft, and exudative (PSE), and if the pH does not drop at all or is at a high level, the meat becomes dark, firm, and dry (DFD). Dryness hinders the muscle tissue’s ability to absorb oxygen and bloom. These terms are often used to describe problems with pork.

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Promolux True Color Definition Lamps

Promolux balanced spectrum lamps emit lower levels of heat, ultraviolet radiation and damaging visible spectrum radiation than regular supermarket fluorescent lamps, thus prolonging the blooming period of meat and reducing the rate of meat discoloration. Compared to other fluorescent lighting, Promolux lamps emit 86% lower UV B radiation, a shorter wavelength that penetrates and causes heating, and 52% lower UV A radiation, a longer wavelength that tends to affect surfaces. Promolux lamps have a balanced spectrum

In a study conducted by the University of Zaragoza, meat that was displayed under Promolux low UV lamps stayed nearly as fresh as meat that was kept in the dark, while meat that was displayed under regular fluorescent lighting quickly turned brown and began to decompose.

Promolux meat display case lamps are also balanced for true color definition. The yellow and green wavelengths that are predominant in regular fluorescent lighting are the most damaging wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

Promolux lamps emit a more balanced range of wavelengths, including more of the red and blue wavelengths and more moderate levels of the yellow and green wavelengths, thus revealing the bright red color of blooming beef muscle without compromising the white of the fat and marbling.

Lighting sources have a profound effect on the perceived color of fresh meat.

Fresh Meat Displays

Regular supermarket meat display case lighting shortens the brief period when meat is blooming, turning it brown prematurely; increases the rate of bacterial growth; and distorts the meat’s natural color.

VISUAL APPEAL OF FRESH MEAT IN SUPERMARKET MERCHANDISERS
Consumers judge the freshness of meat by its color, but many lighting sources distort true colors. <more...>


COLOR OF FRESH MEAT IN SUPERMARKET DISPLAY CASES
The color of fresh meat is determined by the pigment myoglobin, which undergoes various chemical reactions to form other pigments. These reactions are triggered by light, heat, and oxygen availability. <more...>


SPOILAGE OF FRESH MEAT IN COMMERCIAL SHOWCASES
The growth of bacteria leads to meat spoilage. Most display case lighting emits radiation which raises meat surface temperatures even in refrigerated display cases, leading to exponential bacterial growth. <more...>


MEAT REWRAPS IN GROCERY STORE MEAT CABINETS
Meat that doesn’t sell can be sold more cheaply by rewrapping it, such as grinding it, marinating it, or even cooking it, but this still represents a loss in terms of additional labor costs and realizing a smaller profit. <more...>


MODIFIED ATMOSPHERE PACKAGING (MAP) FOR RETAIL DISPLAYS OF FRESH MEAT
Modified atmosphere packaging controls the amount of oxygen surrounding the meat, but the transparent wrapping traps radiant heat from lighting which leads to dehydration and spoilage. <more...>


FRESH BEEF DISPLAYS IN SUPERMARKET MEAT DEPARTMENT SHOWCASES
The color of beef changes dramatically under supermarket fluorescent lighting from full bloom red to dull brown. Beef spoilage and rewraps cost the United States $1 billion per year and Canada $200 million per year. <more...>


FRESH POULTRY DISPLAYS IN GROCERY STORE MEAT MERCHANDISERS
Radiation from meat display case lighting leads to an increased rate of bacterial growth and decomposition in poultry displays. <more...>


FRESH PORK DISPLAYS IN SUPERMARKET MEAT DISPLAY CASES
Pork shelf life is limited more by discoloration than by spoilage. High surface temperatures accelerate discoloration and can lead to lipid oxidation of pork fats, causing the pork to become rancid. <more...>


PROCESSED AND CURED MEATS IN RETAIL MEAT SHOWCASES
Grinding meat and stirring in herbs exposes lean tissue and fat to light and oxygen, making the product susceptible to discoloration and rancidity. The color of cured meat is very unstable when exposed to ultraviolet light. <more...>

 

copyright 2017 Grant Lucas