Don’t be fooled by that blood-red cut of beef in the grocery store, says USA Today. It could be old and spoiled, while the brown meat next to it could be fresher and safer. Some major meat producers and supermarkets have been packing chopped meat and other beef in packages filled with carbon monoxide, which keeps the meat looking red no matter how old it is. Now that tactic is being questioned by some congressmen and consumer groups, who believe it is designed to trick shoppers into buying spoiled meat. “To put it bluntly, the sole purpose of carbon monoxide packaging is to fool consumers into believing that the meat and fish they buy is fresh no matter how old it is and no matter how decayed it might be,” said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.). He’s introduced legislation requiring such packages to have notices warning consumers that the meat is being packaged in carbon monoxide. The European Union, Canada, and Japan have all banned the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging, but the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture both say the practice is safe.
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