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Light and Meat
Lipid Oxidation of Meat in Refrigerated Supermarket Display Cases

Meat with a high fat content, such as ground meat, sausages, and bacon, are susceptible to lipid oxidation.Meat with a high fat content, such as ground meat, sausages, and bacon, are susceptible to lipid oxidation, a photochemical reaction between light and fat lipids which leads to rancidity, noticeable by a bad smell and a yellowish tinge.

Bacon and sausage, because of their high fat content, have a much shorter shelf life than other meats; even when frozen, their shelf life is only three months long. Ground meat and sausages are more susceptible to spoilage because the fats are evenly dispersed throughout the meat.

The chlorophyll in herbs and spices commonly added to sausages and processed meat absorbs light, accelerating the rate of lipid oxidation. Similarly, vegetable based food dyes added to cured or processed meat will also absorb light and increase the rate of oxidation. The rate of spoilage can vary depending upon the salts and chemicals used, which can speed up the decomposition of the meat or its oxidation.

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 processed and cured meat decomposition. Compared to other fluorescent and LED lighting, PROMOLUX lamps and LEDs 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.


Grinding meat exposes it to light and oxygen, shortening the shelf life of ground meats. Herbs and spices absorb light and accelerate the decomposition and discoloration of the retail meat. <more...>

Ground meats have a shorter shelf life due to their exposure to light, air, and bacteria, and any herbs and spices that are added absorb light from display case lighting, accelerating meat spoilage. Cured meats are very sensitive to the discoloring effects of ultraviolet radiation from regular meat display lights. <more...>

Protecting cured meats from harmful visible spectrum and ultraviolet light, elevated temperatures, and oxygen can help prevent cured meats from turning gray or green. Ultraviolet and visible spectrum light can also cause the color of cured products (raw or cooked) to fade. <more...>

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