FDA says carbon monoxide additives in meat are "generally" safe!
Studies Attest to Buyers' Focus on Color of Meat
By Rick Weiss - Washington Post Staff WriterWednesday, February 22, 2006; Page A07
Carbon monoxide "does not reduce the safety of meat," Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety said, referring to meat-company-sponsored studies indicating that treated meat is not more likely to harbor harmful bacteria than conventionally packaged meat.
That aspect of safety is essentially undisputed. But Tarantino appeared unacquainted with a significant body of data -- some of it generated by the meat industry -- indicating that red color is a central cue used by shoppers to determine the freshness of meats, which are increasingly sold in sealed, "modified atmosphere" packages.
The issue of how consumers make their choices is central to the argument made by Kalsec Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich., that the use of carbon monoxide to keep meat red is a "deceptive practice."
Kalsec sells natural extracts that slow the browning of packaged meats -- a business threatened by the growing use of carbon monoxide.
The real question is ... To Deceive, Or Not To Deceive?