#14 Carbon Monoxide

Meat people like their meat to look fresh. Carbon Monoxide packaging makes that happen.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is commonly used in American meat and fish packaging to create a red color associated with freshness. Meat that has not been treated with Carbon Monoxide will naturally oxidize and change color (turn brown) after about 10 days or so. But animal flesh that has been treated with carbon monoxide in "modified atmosphere packaging" will retain a reddish color. This treatment can mask spoilage.

Meat people either don't know about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide or they don't care. Carbon Monoxide can cause fish to accumulate dangerous levels of scombrotoxin or histamine. Carbon Monoxide in meat and fish can mask a wide variety of pathogens including E. Coli and Salmonella.

There are other dangers from Carbon Monoxide as well. It pollutes the environment and poses serious health hazards and risk of death to workers who handle Carbon Monoxide.

This use of Carbon Monoxide is purely aesthetic and not necessary at all. In fact, because of the dangers it poses many countries ban this use of Carbon Monoxide. But since meat people want fresh-looking meat, American meat producers often use Carbon Monoxide.

The use of Carbon Monoxide doesn't look so fresh and tasty after all.