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Light and Meat
Color of Fresh Poultry in Refrigerated Supermarket Display Cases

Raw chicken and turkey can come in a range of colors including bluish white, yellow, pale tan, and pink.The color of fresh poultry in refrigerated supermarket display cases can vary widely. Raw chicken and turkey can come in a range of colors including bluish white, yellow, pale tan, and pink, depending upon the part of the bird and the bird’s diet, age, breed, amount of fat, and exercise habits.

However, different light sources affect the perceived color of the poultry because they have different spectral components, so the same chicken part can appears to be several different colors. For example, a panel described a chicken leg as pink or red when it was under an incandescent light, brown when under a fluorescent light, and brown to purple under a metal halide light.

Since many studies have found that color is one of the fundamental factors consumers consider when purchasing chicken and turkey, it is vital that the poultry be displayed in lighting that does not hide its fresh appearance.

PROMOLUX True Color Definition Lamps and LEDs

PROMOLUX Safe Spectrum balanced full spectrum fluorescent lamps and LEDs emit lower levels of heat and ultraviolet radiation than regular supermarket fluorescent lamps, thus reducing the rate of poultry 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.

Because 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.

It is impossible to create a natural light that does not have any yellow or green wavelengths, so light sources will always be damaging to some extent. However, in a study conducted by the University of Zaragoza, meat that was displayed under PROMOLUX low UV balanced spectrum lamps stayed nearly as fresh as meat kept in the dark, while meat that was displayed under regular fluorescent lighting quickly turned brown and began to decompose.


Health conscious consumers have been purchasing increasing amounts of poultry in recent years, raising awareness of food safety and harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, and demanding high quality meat. Poultry display lighting that emits UV raises surface temperatures of meat packages, providing an ideal environment for bacterial growth. <more...>

Poultry is sensitive to the oxidizing effects of light and will become discolored after prolonged exposure to light and UV radiation. <more...>

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