Color of Meat Food Safety Factors

Always consider food sanitation and meat safety when grocery shopping for meat. There are a few food safety factors to keep in mind when shopping for meat. One important factor to take into account is the color of meat. Examine the color of meat before purchasing. Learn what factors contribute to the color of meat and other meat safety influences to help you purchase meat safely.

Why is red the color of meat?

Most of the red color of meat comes from a protein called myoglobin. It is actually a purplish color and doesn’t turn to red until it is mixed with oxygen. Myoglobin is settled in the tissue cells and becomes oxymyoglobin after it is mixed with oxygen. In result, it produces a bright red color. Likewise, hemoglobin is responsible for the color that comes mostly from circulating blood. After animals are slaughtered a slight amount of hemoglobin can still detected in the tissues.

When should the color of meat produce meat safety and food sanitation concerns?

While a change in the color of meat can be normal, other times it should be observed with meat safety caution. Meat that fades or darkens in color is typically spoiled. Never eat meat that appears to be fading and darkening in color for meat safety purposes. Meat that is sticky, gooey, and has an unusual or off odor has most likely rotted. Even if you are grocery shopping and you find meat in this condition avoid it. Apply such food sanitation and food safety practices for protection from foodborne illnesses.

Are there food safety concerns if meat changes colors in the refrigerator or freezer?

There are conditions when a change in the color of meat presents no meat safety or food safety concerns. If stored correctly it is normal for the color of meat and poultry to change in the refrigerator or freezer. Additional food safety tips involve allowing as little air as possible to come in contact with the meat. This reduces the change in the color of meat. Decrease color change by using freezer wrap to package meat. Keep meat in a properly sealed container for correct food safety.

What other factors influence the color of meat?

There are other influences on the color of meat that might not require much meat safety caution. A change in the color of meat is triggered by the species, age, diet, sex, and the kind of exercise it gets. Older animals and animals that get more exercise have a darker color.

Additional food safety tips:

Whether you’re grocery shopping or hesitant about the meat safety of already purchased meat it’s good to have food safety concerns. It’s important to know what the color of meat should be. It’s critical to recognize these food safety tips when you’re grocery shopping for meat. No matter what color meat may be, don’t eat it if it doesn’t smell normal. Discard of meat that looks and appears rotten as meat safety measures. Dispose of all decayed food as proper food safety and food sanitation efforts. Having meat safety awareness may help with better decision making when grocery shopping.

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