Color — its basis and importance

  • D. Cornforth
Part of the Advances in Meat Research book series (ADMERE, volume 9)


Meat color is the primary criterion by which consumers evaluate meat quality and acceptability. Consumers prefer bright-red fresh meats, brown or gray-colored cooked meats and pink cured meats. Any deviations may result in reduced sales, consumer complaints and returned products. The relatively short shelf-life of fresh meats is the single greatest concern to retail meat markets. When brown metmyoglobin reaches 30–40% of total pigments on the surface of fresh retail beef, consumers make a nopurchase decision (Greene et al., 1971). It is estimated that 4–10% of retail meats are either discounted, processed into hamburger, or even discarded due to brown-color development. Efforts continue to extend fresh meat color stability through improved sanitation and antimicrobial treatments, temperature control, packaging, and also through diet modification and improved breeding and handling of live animals.


Color Stability Ground Beef Propyl Gallate Meat Color Fresh Meat 
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