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Environment

Packaged meat

July 31, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 31

I was intrigued to see a snippet in Business Concentrates describing a novel system for indicating the freshness of perishable goods (C&EN, April 3, page 19). An accompanying picture shows OnVu technology, which the manufacturer's website claims can be used for monitoring freshness in the meat, poultry, and fish packaging industries. OnVu apparently "relies on the properties of pigments that change color over time and when temperatures fluctuate," which makes it a useful device indeed and a very laudable objective to be sure.

However, given the current controversy over the use of carbon monoxide (a Food & Drug Administration-approved food additive) as a means of maintaining the red color of meat or disguising the fact that the meat may not be quite as fresh as it appears-depending on your degree of cynicism−then I imagine we will not see OnVu used on packaged red meat any time soon!

T. Peppard
Warren, N.J.

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