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AMI Releases Video Addressing Questions about the Color of Ground BeefTuesday, May 25, 2010
Washington, D.C. --The American Meat Institute (AMI) today unveiled a new educational video about the color of ground beef found in today's meat case. The video, featuring Betsy Booren, Ph.D., director of scientific affairs of the American Meat Institute Foundation, is the sixth installment of AMI's new "Ask the Meat Scientist" series.
The diverse choices in today's meat case
generate many different questions from
consumers. Sometimes ground beef may
appear red on the outside, but brown on the
inside due to packaging methods. Booren
explains in the video the simple explanation
for this: oxygen.
"Beef comes from the muscle of an
animal. In its natural state --when it is
not exposed to any oxygen --it appears purple,"
she notes. "But when it is exposed to at
least a 20 percent or higher oxygen level of
air, the protein responsible for meat color,
called `myoglobin,' is forced to bind with the
oxygen present and causes the meat color to
turn red. Also, when the meat is exposed
to no or less than 1 percent of oxygen gas, the
meat color will change to a brownish
Many retail outlets package their ground beef on a styrofoam tray covered with plastic wrap, which is known as "overwrap packaging." Because some oxygen is able to penetrate the plastic wrap it can make the outside of the meat appear bright red.
Booren notes in the video that some
consumers ask if beef's red color comes from
food coloring, but this certainly isn't the
case. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture
inspects all ground beef and food coloring is
not allowed to be added. Color is simply a
natural interaction between beef and the oxygen
in our everyday environment," she
To watch the short video, visit AMI's YouTube channel, The Meat News Network, at http://www.YouTube.com/MeatNewsNetwork.
For more questions about beef color, packaging or product dates, visit http://www.meatmattersinfo.org/ to download AMI's free brochures.
AMI is the nation's oldest and largest trade association representing the U.S. meat and poultry packing and processing industry and its Foundation serves as its research, education and information arm.
Booren serves as director of scientific
affairs for the Foundation. She received
her Ph.D. in food science and technology from
Texas A&M University, M.S. in animal
science from the University of Nebraska and a
B.S. in food science from Michigan State