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Gassing meat

A Michigan-based food and spice company is protesting FDA rulings that allow small amounts of carbon dioxide to be used in “case ready” packages of fresh meat to preserve the red color.

The air-tight containers are packed at the meat packing plant and are not to be reopened until sold. Kalsec claims the carbon monoxide treatment is not safe because it can mask the growth of pathogens and disguises the freshness of the meat. The company wants FDA to either ban the use of carbon monoxide or require meat packers to label their meats accordingly.

FDA noted that USDA allows the use of wood smoke containing carbon monoxide as an ingredient in meat and poultry products. The EU banned the use of carbon monoxide in 2003, concluding that it exposes consumers to unsafe meat.

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