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Light and Meat
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) For Retail Displays of Fresh Meat

The rates of oxidation and decomposition can be slowed by the use of barrier films and various gas combinations in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), but radiation from retail lighting, especially UV radiation but also visible spectrum radiation, can still initiate oxidation and spoilage as all wavelengths of light penetrate clear packaging to some extent.

Wrapping fresh meat provides the opportunity to encase the meat in an atmosphere composed of a specific combination of gases, which allows retailers to control the timing of meat blooming and prolongs the storage life of the meat.

Modified atmospheres range from Controlled Atmosphere Packaging (CAP), which is 100% carbon dioxide and maintains the initial purple color of freshly slaughtered meat, to high oxygen Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), which contains 70% oxygen and 30% carbon dioxide and is ideal for initiating meat blooming, the change in meat color from purple to bright red.

MAP with high oxygen concentrations helps to keep the red pigment stable within the muscle tissue for twice as long as meat exposed to air. In one study beef in high oxygen (70% oxygen and 30% carbon dioxide) modified atmosphere packaging remained fresh for four weeks at -1.5°C, and three weeks at 0°C.

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MODIFIED ATMOSPHERE PACKAGING (MAP) FOR RETAIL DISPLAYS OF FRESH MEAT
Modified atmosphere packaging controls the amount of oxygen surrounding the meat, but the transparent wrapping traps radiant heat from lighting which leads to dehydration and spoilage. <more...>


COLOR OF FRESH MEAT IN RETAIL DISPLAYS
As consumers select meat, they are strongly influenced by their first impression, which comes from the meat’s color. 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...>


VISUAL APPEAL OF FRESH MEAT IN SUPERMARKET MERCHANDISERS
Consumers judge the freshness of meat by its color, but many lighting sources distort true colors. <more...>


MEAT REWRAPS IN GROCERY STORE MEAT CABINETS
Meat that doesn’t sell can be sold more cheaply by rewrapping it, such as grinding it, marinating it, or even cooking it, but this still represents a loss in terms of additional labor costs and realizing a smaller profit. <more...>



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