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Light and Meat
Fresh Beef Bacteria in Grocery Store Meat Cabinets

BacteriaThe microorganisms that attach rapidly to fresh beef and are primarily responsible for beef spoilage in grocery store meat cabinets are psychrotrophic bacteria, meaning those that are able to grow in cold temperatures, and tend to be in the genus Pseudomonas. While these bacteria are not harmful per se, they contribute to the discoloration and spoilage of beef by accelerating the oxidation of myoglobin to myoglobin, the pigment that causes fresh meat to look brown, reducing the shelf life of fresh beef to 2 to 3 days. Eighty percent of Canadian beef is sold domestically and internationally in vacuum packages, which are vulnerable to spoilage by lactic acid bacteria.

In most cases, the bacteria are only present on the surface of the meat, in the outer few millimeters. The exceptions are ground beef, where the grinding process spreads the bacteria throughout the meat, and highly spoiled beef.

PROMOLUX True Color Definition Lamps and LEDs

Deli equipment display lightingPROMOLUX balanced spectrum fluorescent lamps and LEDs emit lower levels of heat and ultraviolet radiation than regular grocery store fluorescent lamps, thus reducing the rate of meat decomposition. Compared to other fluorescent lighting, PROMOLUX lamps emit 86% lower UV B radiation, a shorter wavelength that penetrates and causes heating, and 52% lower UV A radiation, a longer wavelength that tends to affect surfaces.

Promolux lamps have a balanced spectrumBecause PROMOLUX lamps and LEDs are designed for true color definition, they have a more balanced visible spectrum than other fluorescent lamps. The yellow and green wavelengths that are predominant in regular fluorescent lighting are the most damaging wavelengths in the visible spectrum. PROMOLUX lamps emit a more balanced range of wavelengths, including more of the red and blue wavelengths and more moderate levels of the yellow and green wavelengths.

This balance ensures that beef maintains its cherry red bloom while its fat and marbling are displayed in their true colors, rather than appearing brownish with yellowed or pink fat which often is the case with regular meat display lighting.

The color of fresh meat is determined by the pigment myoglobin, which undergoes various chemical reactions to form other pigments. These reactions are triggered by light, heat, and oxygen availability. <more...>

The color of beef changes dramatically under supermarket fluorescent lighting from full bloom red to dull brown. Beef spoilage and rewraps cost the United States $1 billion per year and Canada $200 million per year. <more...>

Average steak surface temperatures are 8 to 10°C higher than the temperature recorded on the display case thermometer, sometimes fluctuating to 20°C higher particularly when the meat was exposed to meat display case lighting. At higher temperatures, bacteria grows exponentially. <more...>

After 17 days, meat under regular supermarket lighting had much larger percentages of surface metmyoglobin, higher levels of psychrotrophic bacteria, and poorer odour quality than the beef displayed under PROMOLUX lights or beef kept in darkness. <more...>

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