WASHINGTON - May 31 - Food & Water Watch today once again urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rescind its tacit approval of a controversial industry practice of using carbon monoxide in case-ready meat packaging after a new consumer survey conducted found that more than nine of every ten respondents believe it’s deceptive to consumers.
The survey, which was conducted by Supermarketguru.com and reported in “Facts, Figures & the Future,” a newsletter sponsored by the supermarket industry, found that 93 percent of respondents “believe that the use of carbon monoxide as a pigment fixative [in fresh meat] was an attempt to fool consumers.” The survey reportedly also found 68 percent were unaware that some meat is packaged with carbon monoxide, which keeps meat a fresh-looking red color even after it may have begun to spoil.
Consumer groups, including Food & Water Watch, have previously voiced their opposition to the use of carbon monoxide, and more than a dozen supermarket chains - including industry giants Kroger and Publix - have refused to sell CO-treated meat because of the potential for consumer deception.
“When consumers shop for their meat, they rely primarily on the color to determine how fresh it is,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It’s deceptive and dangerous to use carbon monoxide to mislead consumers into believing that what they think is fresh is actually not.”
The Supermarketguru.com survey also found:
- 58 percent of respondents did not trust the pigment fixative process and an additional 36 percent said they were not sure about it.
- More than half the respondents said knowing about the use of the process would affect their meat buying decisions.
- Nearly half the respondents, 47 percent, reportedly said they wouldn’t mind the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging as long as it was labeled. Currently, no producer that uses carbon monoxide labels its use or tells consumers about its presence.
Food & Water Watch repeated its support for a petition filed by Kalsec, Inc., a private company that makes natural extracts for use in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical applications, to rescind approval by the FDA of the use of carbon monoxide in case-ready meat packaging.
Read the letter.
Read the article from Food, Facts & Figures.