US consumer group Food & Water Watch has again urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reverse its tacit approval of the practice of using carbon monoxide in case-ready meat packaging after a survey revealed strong consumer disapproval.
 
The survey, conducted by Supermarketguru.com, revealed that nine of every ten respondents believe the practice is deceptive to consumers. The results of the survey, reported in industry newsletter "Facts, Figures & the Future", showed that 93% of respondents "believe that the use of carbon monoxide as a pigment fixative [in fresh meat] was an attempt to fool consumers."
 
The survey also indicated that 68% of consumers were unaware that some meat is packaged with carbon monoxide, which, says Food & Water Watch, keeps meat a fresh-looking red colour even after it may have begun to spoil.
 
"When consumers shop for their meat, they rely primarily on the colour 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."
 
Food & Water Watch added that so far, more than a dozen supermarket operators, including major chains such as Kroger and Publix - have refused to sell CO-treated meat because of the potential for consumer deception.