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Promolux LEDs & Fluorescents are specifically designed for merchandising & protecting fresh food

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Light and Meat
Retail Shelf Life of Processed Meat Displays

The process of grinding meat and stirring in spices and other ingredients introduces air and oxygen throughout the product.The process of grinding meat and stirring in spices and other ingredients introduces air and oxygen throughout the product, making the preferred red bloom color of ground beef less stable by exhausting the reducing enzymes that allow the meat pigment to change from purple (myoglobin) to red (oxymyoglobin) and back again, and prevent these two from turning brown (metmyoglobin).

The center of a package of ground beef, for example, is often grayish brown because there is not enough oxygen to stabilize the pigment as red oxymyoglobin, but there was enough oxygen and exposure to light when the product was being ground and mixed to allow the brown pigment metmyoglobin to form.

A fresh roast, in contrast, would be purplish in the center. The shelf life of processed meat is reduced proportionately to the amount of exposure to air: the longer the product is mixed, and the smaller the meat is ground, the shorter the product’s shelf life.

Herbs and spices contain chlorophyll which naturally absorbs light, so when these ingredients are added to processed raw meats or used in marinades, the discoloration process is accelerated. The absorbed light is retained as heat which encourages bacterial growth and spoilage, and as the oxygen concentrations become lower, brown coloring becomes predominant.

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 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 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 and LEDs 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.


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...>

Meat with a high fat content are susceptible to lipid oxidation, a reaction between light and fat lipids which leads to rancidity, noticeable by a bad smell and a yellowish tinge. Ground meat and sausages are especially susceptible to spoilage because the fats are evenly dispersed throughout the meat. <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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