Processing Magazine

Meat companies defend use of carbon monoxide in packaging

November 5, 2007
The Associated Press reports that Minnesota companies Cargill Inc. and Hormel Foods Corp. told the House Agriculture Committee that their practice of packaging meat in carbon monoxide was safe, while consumer groups critical of the practice steamed about getting excluded from the hearing. The meat industry uses the practice to help meat retain its red color, but critics say it misleads consumers about the freshness of the product. Last week, Safe Tables Our Priority and other groups opposed to the use of carbon monoxide asked the committee chairman, Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson, for a chance to testify at the hearing, but were turned down. The other groups seeking to testify against the practice were Consumer Federation of America, Food & Water Watch and Government Accountability Project. The committee did invite a company that has helped lead the charge against the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging, Kalsec Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich., which makes extracts that slow the browning of meat. Two years ago, the company filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration seeking a ban on the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging