November 5, 2007
House Ag committee hearing on meat technology materials online
Last Tuesday the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on meat technologies. Speakers were Transcripts and/or visual materials are available on the committee website. One of the speakers was FSIS head, Alfred V. Amanza . An excerpt from Mr. Amanza's comments follows. The panel roster is below.
"One form of technology used by the meat industry that has received a great deal of attention in recent months is carbon monoxide in packaging. Carbon monoxide is used to stabilize the color pigment of meat, when it is red and, therefore, most appealing to consumers. Use of carbon monoxide in packaging does not impart a color to the meat; it simply maintains its naturally occurring color.
In 2002, carbon monoxide, for use as a component of modified atmosphere packaging, was accepted by FDA as being “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or GRAS. Carbon monoxide does not become a part of the product and dissipates as soon as the package is opened. This is unlike other ingredients used to stabilize the red color of meat, such as citric acid, sodium ascorbate, and rosemary extract, all of which actually do become a part of the product. However, to be sure consumers are not misled, FSIS has established a use-by/sell-by date to be included on meat products that use carbon monoxide packaging. This is to ensure that the shelf life of the product ends before spoilage occurs.
As members of the committee are no doubt aware, FDA has received a petition asking it to withdraw its decision that carbon monoxide in meat packaging is Generally Recognized as Safe. FSIS will continue to make its labeling decisions and its suitability reviews on the basis of FDA’s safety conclusions."
- Dr. Phil Minerich, Vice President, Research and Development, Hormel Foods Corporation, Austin, Minnesota
- Mr. Scott Eilert, Vice President, Research and Development, Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kansas
- Mr. Rick Roop, Senior Vice President, Science and Regulatory Affairs, Tyson Foods, Inc., Washington, D.C.
- Dr. Joseph Sebranek, Professor, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
- Mr. Alfred V. Almanza, Administrator, Food Safety Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
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