Meat buyers need to know

Choice Magazine recently released an article unveiling some scary supermarket practices in Australia.

Leaving aside the fruit and vegetable issues, it revealed the main tricks supermarkets use to keep meat for longer than they'd like you to believe. For example:

  • Chilling beef mince extends the storage life to 44 days and cuts of lamb to 112 days.
  • Vacuum-packing with carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Carbon dioxide inhibits growth of micro-organisms and nitrogen is an inert filler.
  • Carbon monoxide is introduced to react with the myoglobin in the meat to produce a healthy-looking red colour (especially when it is no longer fresh).
It is important to note that longer shelf life is linked with the increased likelihood and danger posed by some bacteria.

Choice says it's not all doom and gloom. They say local butchers still prepare and sell meat as you would expect to receive it - fresh, chemical free and naturally vibrant in colour. Some even employ practices inherited from generations before them.

Their tip is support your local butchers and buy your meat at the markets. Sounds like a good idea to me!