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Food store chains under fire for selling out-of-date product

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Mike

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Anything that enhances, or covers up the natural color of beef should be banned......by the reason of common sense alone.

Why do they lower the price or jerk the "Browned" meat from the cooler? Because it's not fresh! Covering up the freshness is wrong when selling ANY beef whether it's spoiled or not!

I would imagine that the smaller portions of pre-packed meat has caused a lot of the conniving in this area. Wal-Mart don't want to pay butchers anymore. Meat spoils from the outside in.......when they used to have hanging carcasses they could trim the outside and have good meat underneath. When it's pre-packed there is more area vulnerable to spoilage.
 

Sandhusker

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agman said:
Sandhusker said:
Agman, "I see a problem if color is altered. However, that is vastly different from a process that allows meat to stay fresh longer and maintain its natural color for that extended period."

Fedup offered this, "Laura Tarantino, director of the office of food-additive safety at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, noted the companies stated "that the CO (carbon monoxide) is included in the modified atmosphere to help maintain the characteristic color of fresh meat."

"Precept states that the CO is not intended to affect microbial growth and will not extend the shelf life of the product"

Your comments?

CO is not the only product included in a high oxygen environment. Product life is extended by several days with the combination of CO and other products. That is my answer.

What is the backround of the person and agency making the posted statements? For all you and I know they may be a front for PETA!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: You're falling apart, Agman! What is this "high oxygen environment" you speak of? We're talking about putting CO into packages of beef, not Michael Jackson's sleeping chamber.

Agman, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said CO does NOT extend shelf life. You might think they are a front for PETA, I know they are part of the FDA. :roll:
 

Mike

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Anything to show partiality to the "Big Boys".

Think he want's to talk Colorado Football after the "Shellacking" they took from Texas? For the second time this year too....I might add.

I see Nebraska's got a bowl game. It ought to be a good one too!
 

Sandhusker

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MRJ said:
Sandhusker, you quoted Ms. Tarantino as saying "the CO is included in the modified atmosphere to help maintain the characteristic color of fresh meat".

She did NOT say it was to keep the color fresh looking after the meat spoiled!

NO ONE has yet posted anything to show there has been ANY consumer who purchased spoiled meat packaged in this manner.

NO ONE has yet posted anything to show there has been any testing that showed a problem with spoilage within the dated time on the packages, nor even post date.........so has there been any real problem? Even any problem identified in studies?

ALL we have here is a "news release" by a company that apparently feels threatened by the competition from this superior method of packaging beef, so far as any posts on this thread can show.

I has earmarks of a business wanting government to regulate the competitive edge, researched, developed and applied at considerable cost, by another beef seller out of existence, IMO.

MRJ

MRJ, if you bought a package of spoiled meat, would you be able to pinpoint the reason it was spoiled? Would you be able to take it back to the grocer and difinitively be able to say, "This spoilage was due to CO masking?" There's your answer.

Let me ask you a question - Do you have any problem with a customer using color as a guide to choose fresh beef when that color is not because it is fresh but is the result of a chemical reaction? I think I've asked you this a couple of times already....
 

fedup2

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Agman writes: What is the backround of the person and agency making the posted statements? For all you and I know they may be a front for PETA!!

Thanks for the vote of confidence Agman! :cry: The article itself came from the Meat Agency Internet News Service.
One quote was from: Elizabeth Campbell, former head of FDA's office of food labeling.
Another: director of the office of food-additive safety at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Do you really feel these people are a front for PETA? :shock:

MRJ writes: “NO ONE has yet posted anything to show there has been ANY consumer who purchased spoiled meat packaged in this manner”

Again I ask, how would they know if it was packaged in this manner? There are no information labels required to even let them know it is packaged in this manner! Do you assume all the meat you buy in a grocery store is packed with carbon monoxide? :???: Have you never returned spoiled meat to the store where you bought it? If not you have been very lucky! Especially if you cannot open the package to smell it nor can you judge it by its color! :mad:
 

Sandhusker

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Mike said:
Anything to show partiality to the "Big Boys".

Think he want's to talk Colorado Football after the "Shellacking" they took from Texas? For the second time this year too....I might add.

I see Nebraska's got a bowl game. It ought to be a good one too!

I'm looking forward to it, but I'm not going to get very mouthy with the Michigan fan I know. I thought we might be getting our stuff together when we embarrassed Colorado on their home field, but Texas showed us what the Buffs were made of.

What do you think of those CU fans? They still had tickets available the week of their big game with their "rivals" that would also clinch the Big 12 North! Then their sportsmanship from the stands and their returning tickets to the Big 12 Champ game. Pretty classy bunch.... :roll:
 

fedup2

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Sandhusker, they are not standing there pumping gas in bags of meat. the entire area is 'controlled'.

In Norway, current labeling regulations require packages with meat and other foods in modified atmospheres to be labeled with ”Packaged in a protective atmosphere.
(they are not allowed to state on the label what gases were used)!

As far as only preserving natural color and not altering it: This from a study in Norway who have been known to use this the longest.

"Several studies have documented that low concentrations of CO, 0.1 – 2.0 %, improve meat color and color stability (Table 1). These reports include meat of beef, pork and poultry. The color improvement by CO seems to be valid if the other gases in the atmospheres are CO2, N2, O2 or air. When increasing the CO concentration to 2 %, the color was characterized as “too artificial” by a sensory panel (Renerre & Labadie, 1993). Therefore, concentrations of 0.4 – 1.0 % CO can be regarded as sufficient and suitable for color purposes by MAP of meat."
 

mrj

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I do not claim to know all there is to know about packaging meats, though I have listened to some interesting presentations on IMPROVING packaging and beef quality via better packaging and methods of packaging.

Previous posts by several people on this thread reveal a serious lack of knowledge that producers and others involved in the cattle/beef business really need to overcome.

fedup2, thanks for adding the points about the "controlled area" facet of the packaging, as well as the methods and time Norway has been doing this. I will add that Norway is a country associated with excellence in food quality.

BTW, don't you suppose when there are returns of spoiled meat the store is going to complain to the supplier, and that it will go right back to whomever packaged the stuff? I think they CAN and WILL find out if there is more than the most minimal problem.

Maybe I have been "lucky" in never getting bad beef in a store, and I do purchase it fairly frequently. Mainly to see what consumers are getting. To that end, I buy low cost, sometimes discolored beef from low cost stores in Pierre and Rapid City.

Have none of you noticed that beef discolors very quickly at home? I will say that our own beef from the locker is always frozen, so have to thaw it either in the fridge or very carefully in the microwave. It will discolor in a pretty short time. I question how long that cherry red color lasts in the real world, and know it is far less time than it takes for spoilage.

So, Sandhusker, that experience tells me that consumers judging freshness of beef by color alone may not be getting accurate information about "freshness". Maybe consumers need to pay more attention to "use by" dates than appearance, and also to return any product that isn't satisfactory. I have had good results returning other perishable foods both locally and in the big cities.

Sandhusker, there has been no evidence yet presented on this thread that says the meat color is the result of chemical reaction, but rather it is a result of EXCLUDING atmospheric conditions (normal air) that CAUSE the beef to change color PREMATEURELY (while it is still perfectly fresh and wholesome with NO spoilage present). If this doesn't answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with consumers using color as the ONLY guide to choosing fresh beef WHEN it may not be very accurate.

Do any of you really believe businesses WANT to pass off spoiled meat on their customers, given the problems that surely will cause them?

Mike, do you recognize the difference between the appearance of "fresshness" and the fact that beef CAN appear brownish and still be absolutely safe and wholesome? If not, why are stores allowed to grind beef that has lost its "bloom"?

The fact is that Walmart (and others) are fazing out the local butchers because it has been proven that the fewer hands the beef passes through in the process from carcass to consumer, the fewer contaminated products end up in consumers hands. Check it out! Sure there are probably cost savings, but that super packaging IN SIZES CONSUMERS WANT are far safer and give the consumer higher quality beef than the old ways. The possible exception MIGHT be where really expert meat cutters in smaller shops where high quality, top priced beef is moved in suitable quantities to make it financially feasible.

It is apparent more study is needed, certainly by producers, and possibly by unbiased government researchers. We need to know whether the modified atmosphere does CHANGE the color, or if it ALLOWS the color to remain natural. We need to know how spoilage is detectable in meat so packaged. Consumers need to be informed of the modified atmospheric packaging. Given the information and choices in packaging, my guess is consumers will go for it. I sure would.

fedup2, you mentioned the money, time, etc. spent teaching consumers to use color as the gauge of fresh, safe beef. If that ISN'T the best means, should we keep it just because of the time and money invested in a faulty system?

Some of you have focused on businesses deceiving and cheating customers. I don't understand people who see conspiracies and desire and attempts to deceive and cheat customers as a common practice or major goal of big business.

The probability that this "news" came from a business complaining about the competition of this packaging, which appears to be superior to what he was using, seems lost in the anti-big business rhetoric.

MRJ
 

agman

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MRJ said:
I do not claim to know all there is to know about packaging meats, though I have listened to some interesting presentations on IMPROVING packaging and beef quality via better packaging and methods of packaging.

Previous posts by several people on this thread reveal a serious lack of knowledge that producers and others involved in the cattle/beef business really need to overcome.

fedup2, thanks for adding the points about the "controlled area" facet of the packaging, as well as the methods and time Norway has been doing this. I will add that Norway is a country associated with excellence in food quality.

BTW, don't you suppose when there are returns of spoiled meat the store is going to complain to the supplier, and that it will go right back to whomever packaged the stuff? I think they CAN and WILL find out if there is more than the most minimal problem.

Maybe I have been "lucky" in never getting bad beef in a store, and I do purchase it fairly frequently. Mainly to see what consumers are getting. To that end, I buy low cost, sometimes discolored beef from low cost stores in Pierre and Rapid City.

Have none of you noticed that beef discolors very quickly at home? I will say that our own beef from the locker is always frozen, so have to thaw it either in the fridge or very carefully in the microwave. It will discolor in a pretty short time. I question how long that cherry red color lasts in the real world, and know it is far less time than it takes for spoilage.

So, Sandhusker, that experience tells me that consumers judging freshness of beef by color alone may not be getting accurate information about "freshness". Maybe consumers need to pay more attention to "use by" dates than appearance, and also to return any product that isn't satisfactory. I have had good results returning other perishable foods both locally and in the big cities.

Sandhusker, there has been no evidence yet presented on this thread that says the meat color is the result of chemical reaction, but rather it is a result of EXCLUDING atmospheric conditions (normal air) that CAUSE the beef to change color PREMATEURELY (while it is still perfectly fresh and wholesome with NO spoilage present). If this doesn't answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with consumers using color as the ONLY guide to choosing fresh beef WHEN it may not be very accurate.

Do any of you really believe businesses WANT to pass of spoiled meat on their customers, given the problems that surely will cause them?

Mike, do you recognize the difference between the appearance of "fresshness" and the fact that beef CAN appear brownish and still be absolutely safe and wholesome? If not, why are stores allowed to grind beef that has lost its "bloom"?

The fact is that Walmart (and others) are fazing out the local butchers because it has been proven that the fewer hands the beef passes through in the process from carcass to consumer, the fewer contaminated products end up in consumers hands. Check it out! Sure there are probably cost savings, but that super packaging IN SIZES CONSUMERS WANT are far safer and give the consumer higher quality beef than the old ways. The possible exception MIGHT be where really expert meat cutters in smaller shops where high quality, top priced beef is moved in suitable quantities to make it financially feasible.

It is apparent more study is needed, certainly by producers, and possibly by unbiased government researchers. We need to know whether the modified atmosphere does CHANGE the color, or if it ALLOW the color to remain natural. We need to know how spoilage is detectable in meat so packaged. Consumers need to be informed of the modified atmospheric packaging. Given the information and choices in packaging, my guess is consumers will go for it. I sure would.

But then, I don't understand people who see conspiracies and desire and attempts to deceive and cheat customers rampant in every big business, either.

MRJ

The best measure of this product is consumer acceptance. It rates very high amongst consumers and has been instrumental to improving beef demand. Packers are running those case-ready processing facilities full blast to meet demand. Advances are on the way that will make the product even better and I believe will help garner new market share for beef. It will be at a store near you before too long.

Wal-Mart stopped using meat cutters several years ago for food safety reasons.
 

Sandhusker

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MRJ, "Sandhusker, there has been no evidence yet presented on this thread that says the meat color is the result of chemical reaction, but rather it is a result of EXCLUDING atmospheric conditions (normal air) that CAUSE the beef to change color PREMATEURELY (while it is still perfectly fresh and wholesome with NO spoilage present). If this doesn't answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with consumers using color as the ONLY guide to choosing fresh beef WHEN it may not be very accurate."

If not a chemical reaction, what else can it be, MRJ? This packaging is not excluding normal air - that is vacuum packing. Consumers are taught that color is an indication of freshness - and the color via CO is not freshness. What is the problem with being straight up and truthful?
 

agman

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Sandhusker said:
MRJ, "Sandhusker, there has been no evidence yet presented on this thread that says the meat color is the result of chemical reaction, but rather it is a result of EXCLUDING atmospheric conditions (normal air) that CAUSE the beef to change color PREMATEURELY (while it is still perfectly fresh and wholesome with NO spoilage present). If this doesn't answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with consumers using color as the ONLY guide to choosing fresh beef WHEN it may not be very accurate."

If not a chemical reaction, what else can it be, MRJ? This packaging is not excluding normal air - that is vacuum packing. Consumers are taught that color is an indication of freshness - and the color via CO is not freshness. What is the problem with being straight up and truthful?

Sandhusker, in all fairness there is more than CO that extends freshness and thereby color in case-ready packaging.
 

Mike

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Wal-Mart stopped using meat cutters several years ago for food safety reasons.

They stopped cutting meat because of food safety reasons, or they wanted to head off the union organizing within the meat cutting rooms? We all know the story about the meat cutters voting the union in and Wal Mart subsequently firing/relocating all the meat cutters and immediately started using pre-packed meat.

Believe me, I'm not pro-union, but we ALL know how hard Wal-Mart has fought the Unions.

Just wanted to get the other side of the story on here.
 

Sandhusker

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agman said:
Sandhusker said:
MRJ, "Sandhusker, there has been no evidence yet presented on this thread that says the meat color is the result of chemical reaction, but rather it is a result of EXCLUDING atmospheric conditions (normal air) that CAUSE the beef to change color PREMATEURELY (while it is still perfectly fresh and wholesome with NO spoilage present). If this doesn't answer your question, yes, I do have a problem with consumers using color as the ONLY guide to choosing fresh beef WHEN it may not be very accurate."

If not a chemical reaction, what else can it be, MRJ? This packaging is not excluding normal air - that is vacuum packing. Consumers are taught that color is an indication of freshness - and the color via CO is not freshness. What is the problem with being straight up and truthful?

Sandhusker, in all fairness there is more than CO that extends freshness and thereby color in case-ready packaging.

I suppose you're somewhat right. However, the FDA says CO only adds color and doesn't extend freshness. If other chemicals extend freshness and thus the color, why the CO?
 

Murgen

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If not a chemical reaction, what else can it be, MRJ?

It may be a chemical reaction!, just like the chemical reaction that creates H2O. (Or NaCl) :wink:
 

Mike

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Modified atmosphere packaging technology is capable of doubling the refrigerated shelf-life of fresh pork and beef compared to using vacuum packages. This technology was perfected in New Zealand where intercontinental transport of fresh meat began in the late 1930's. In the simplest form of modified atmosphere systems, package contents are back-flushed with 100% carbon dioxide before being sealed in a film that prevents the passage of oxygen. Provided the volume of gas is twice that of the meat in the package (so that the atmosphere remains saturated with carbon dioxide), fresh pork and beef can have storage lives of 70 and 110 days, respectively.

To take it a step further - individually packaged loins or roasts wrapped with high oxygen transmissible films can be grouped together, over-wrapped with a film having negligible oxygen transmission and this "master package" back-flushed with 100% carbon dioxide to maximize storage life. These packages can be shipped around the world. When they arrive at retail, the meat is simply removed from the master pack and allowed to stand at 4ºC in air for 30 min. The dark purple color of the meat pigment, deoxymyoglobin, which predominates in the absence of oxygen (under vacuum, nitrogen or carbon dioxide) will "bloom" to the cherry red (oxymyoglobin) colour we expect of fresh meat. The individually wrapped meat cuts can then be placed directly on retail display.

Carbon dioxide is used as a packaging gas for meat because it inhibits bacterial growth and delays lipid oxidation or rancidity. This is why it is so effective for storage-life extension of fresh meat. With cured meats such as pastrami or hot dogs, vacuum packaging can produce shelf-lives of 30-60 days because the main curing agent, sodium nitrite, serves as both an antimicrobial and an antioxidant.

Another type of packaging uses nitrogen gas for cured meat products. The next time you check the supermarket meat case, you may find "pillow packages" containing cured sausages of various types. These are not defective vacuum packages. Very often large packages of a dozen or more sausages will be back-flushed using nitrogen which is cheaper than carbon dioxide. The nitrogen gas reduces the pressure generated by packaging films on the meat during vacuum application and retards expression of juices from the tissue, thereby improving product appearance. However, this process does not extend shelf-life longer than vacuum packaging. Sandwiches in convenience stores and potato chips are routinely packaged with 100% nitrogen.

While the meat industry has embraced vacuum packaging as the most important development to occur this past century, there has been minimal interest in taking advantage of the extra shelf-life possible with modified atmospheres containing 100% carbon dioxide except for goat meat that was exported to the U.S. Large retail chains that make rapid product turn-over a key marketing strategy have opted instead to use high oxygen concentrations for packaging fresh meat which yields shorter shelf-life. This approach is dramatically different from previously described systems where maximum attainable shelf-life was the primary goal.

With high oxygen gas atmosphere packaging systems (80% oxygen plus 20% carbon dioxide) the cherry red colour of fresh meat is stabilized and maintained for 9-12 days at 4ºC. As a result of adoption of this technology, on-site butchers and meat kitchens have virtually disappeared from major retail food stores and the large chains will soon be displaying meat cuts on trays in refrigerated cases. Retail or case ready meats are being centrally packaged at modern processing facilities dedicated to portion packaging, where cuts are weighed, labeled, priced and sent simultaneously to many retail stores.

Using comprehensive sanitary controls, meat cuts are prepared and groups of packages are over-wrapped in single large bags made of gas-impermeable film. The larger bag is flushed with the high oxygen gas mixture. Strict temperature control during distribution enables the shelf-life to be tripled to 9 days, which is sufficient for city-wide distribution of fresh products without preservatives. Some outlying areas within a day's drive can also be serviced. The uncooked fresh roasts, steaks, chops and meat patties that we see in the display cases of convenience stores will be a product of this technology.

One of the more recent successes in packaging technology which caters to our desire for convenience as well as freshness with minimal processing, is modified atmosphere packaging of vegetables. Development of bulk storage systems and plastic film materials that exactly suit the respiratory needs of plant tissue which, unlike meat tissue does not respire, have enabled almost year-round distribution and sale of fresh vegetables without preservatives. Washed, chopped salads of almost endless variety are available at retail outlets.

Modified atmosphere packaging technology has contributed to the delivery of high quality, safe fresh and cured meats, produce and bakery products by an industry sensitive to the demands of regulators and consumers. In the Departments of Food Science and Biosystems Engineering, considerable work has been done with this technology in conjunction with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers at Lacombe, AB to develop portable refrigerant systems using liquid nitrogen to achieve precise temperature control at -1.5º ±0.5ºC.

The adoption of variations of modified atmosphere technology demonstrates both the complexity and continuous evolution within the food industry. To benefit from new process and product development and ensure that future changes do not compromise quality or safety, the industry is heavily reliant on research in food science and processing technology.
 

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Reminds me of CA apples(controlled atmosphere). They need to get this process better than they have it at Wal-Mart.

Good article.
 

mrj

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Murgen said:
If not a chemical reaction, what else can it be, MRJ?

It may be a chemical reaction!, just like the chemical reaction that creates H2O. (Or NaCl) :wink:


Wouldn't it be equally reasonable to state that it is a chemical reaction between beef and the ordinary air that CAUSES the browning of the meat?

My point was that by excluding, or replacing the ordinary air which does alter the meat color is NOT what consumers (or most people) think of as a "chemical reaction". Some are seeing "chemical reaction" as a sinister form of adultertion of the meat in an attempt by the corporate meat packers and retailers to hookwink the customers into buying spoiled beef, judging by the tone of some past thread on the subject.

MRJ

MRJ
 

mrj

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Econ101 said:
I guess my pork loin deal is more of an every day occurence even internationally. It is the USDA's regulatory role to make sure these things do not happen. It is in the grocer's long run interest to have adequate regulatory enforcement.

MRJ, maybe you would be willing to buy some of that out of date meat. We could mark out the date on it and no one could ever prove to you that it was out of date so there would never be any returns. Who is your local grocer? Maybe we should inform him of your positions. This could be a new profit center for packers that would allow packers to pay cattlemen more money. It could be a win-win for everyone.

Just read some of these posts tonight. Econ, it hasn't been all that long ago that in some parts of Germany and eastern Europe, they were lucky to have ANY choices in their food markets. It seems not too unreasonable to think they are yet developing a strong consumer protection system, and there obviously are many smaller owners which is more difficult to investigate than fewer larger ones.

Actually, any market depending upon my beef purchases will go broke. We just do not buy a lot, as I've stated what I do buy is mostly to see what the quality really is.......and I've been impressed. I've also had people tell me the very best beef steaks they ever ate was cut from a carcass that actually had mold on the outer surfaces and required serious trimming to get the "good stuff". I really don't want to go that far!

The point is that it simply is not good business to sell spoiled food and I do not believe any large, corporate grocer will do that deliberately. Further, I believe if it happens it is likely to be accidental, or to be angry employees trying to harm the company.

MRJ
 

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MRJ said:
Econ101 said:
I guess my pork loin deal is more of an every day occurence even internationally. It is the USDA's regulatory role to make sure these things do not happen. It is in the grocer's long run interest to have adequate regulatory enforcement.

MRJ, maybe you would be willing to buy some of that out of date meat. We could mark out the date on it and no one could ever prove to you that it was out of date so there would never be any returns. Who is your local grocer? Maybe we should inform him of your positions. This could be a new profit center for packers that would allow packers to pay cattlemen more money. It could be a win-win for everyone.

Just read some of these posts tonight. Econ, it hasn't been all that long ago that in some parts of Germany and eastern Europe, they were lucky to have ANY choices in their food markets. It seems not too unreasonable to think they are yet developing a strong consumer protection system, and there obviously are many smaller owners which is more difficult to investigate than fewer larger ones.

Actually, any market depending upon my beef purchases will go broke. We just do not buy a lot, as I've stated what I do buy is mostly to see what the quality really is.......and I've been impressed. I've also had people tell me the very best beef steaks they ever ate was cut from a carcass that actually had mold on the outer surfaces and required serious trimming to get the "good stuff". I really don't want to go that far!

The point is that it simply is not good business to sell spoiled food and I do not believe any large, corporate grocer will do that deliberately. Further, I believe if it happens it is likely to be accidental, or to be angry employees trying to harm the company.

MRJ

Not only would they not do it deliberately they will not even accept product from a packer that is dated more than fourteen days from the processed date. Also if product is in their warehouses and gets dated it will be resold into the distributive market at a discount. It is still excellent product and aged which is what many in the beef industry believe we should do with all beef-age it. Grocers who attempt to cut corners are weeded out by the economics of the low margin levels at retail. A minor loss in customers has a devastating impact on earnings.

I always wet-age my cryovaced steaks a minimum of 21 days and generally 35 days. They will literally melt in your mouth.
 

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Mike, "Carbon dioxide is used as a packaging gas for meat because it inhibits bacterial growth and delays lipid oxidation or rancidity."

Where did you get this, Mike? It appears to me to contradict what Fedup posted from the FDA.
 

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