Carbon Monoxide in Fresh Meat

Consumer Deception and a Potential Health Hazard

In 2004 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the use of carbon monoxide in consumer-ready fresh meat packaging. The use of carbon monoxide in fresh meat causes a chemical reaction that creates a substance that makes the meat look red and fresh beyond the time it is safe to eat. Because consumers use appearance as the principal indicator of freshness, this is a serious issue of deception and food safety.

A petition was filed with the FDA on November 15, 2005 asking the federal agency to withdraw its allowance of this practice.

No action has been taken on the petition thus far and carbon monoxide treated meat remains available in some supermarkets.

The GRAS ("Generally Recognized as Safe") notices that were accepted by the FDA, thereby allowing the use of carbon monoxide in fresh meat packaging, are available here.

We will continue to update this website as new information becomes available. You can get more general carbon monoxide information, advice about carbon monoxide alarms and detector placement available here

Please see the links above for relevant documents.

For additional information please contact: