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The retail case life of fresh beef is usually no more than 2 to 3 days, which is a big problem for the grocery store owners because most shoppers turn their noses up to beef, pork, or other meat items if that looks brown in its packaging.
The reason of meat discoloration and decomposition
The reason of meat discoloration is the growth of psychotropic bacteria of the surface of the meat. These bacteria accelerate the oxidation of meat pigments, which results in the gradual deterioration of the acceptable red color. The quality of the meat can be improved and its shelf life can be extended if the growth of contaminating bacteria can be controlled.
Another reason for meat discoloration and decomposition is the brightness and heat coming from the display case lighting. Low-quality display lights emit excessive heat and radiation that accelerates the growth of psychotropic bacteria, resulting in a reduction in the shelf life of meat.
Why bacteria grow on the meat surface
The bacteria that generally spoil meat products grow rapidly under heat. If the incubation temperature increases from 1° to 5° C, the growth will be doubled and it will be tripled if the temperature is increased to 10° C.
The actual surface temperature of steaks in typical food display cases is much higher than that recorded at the blower thermometer. So, it is normal that the growth rate of the harmful bacteria is higher, which means reduced shelf life.
Another important consideration is the intensity and duration of display illumination. Prolonged and intense period of illumination increases steak surface temperatures. Therefore, despite enhancing the appearance of beef, inferior display lighting is detrimental to the quality of meat products.
How specialty lights can extend meat shelf life
It is not possible for the owners of grocery stores to keep their fresh meat in dark, cold places to prolong their shelf life. The meat has to be displayed under bright light without a stint in its complexion. This dilemma can be solved by installing specialty food safe lights into the meat cases.
Specialty LED lighting is mainly used for energy savings, reduced maintenance costs, and less carbon emissions. However, a study conducted by the Kansas State University in 2012 found that LED lighting could extend the life of fresh meat products. According to researcher Kyle Steele, retailers can save on the operational costs of refrigerated cases by using LED lights in meat display cases. He also said that LEDs could extend the shelf life of meat products and retain their original color for a long time.
In comparison to fluorescent lighting for display cases, the researchers found LED display case lighting to give positive results in terms of operational costs, rancidity, and discoloration. Steele said that LED lighting helps most meat products keep colder internal temperatures, which helps extend product shelf life, which can be up to one day.
If you are looking for a solution to increase your meat shelf life, look no further. Promolux LED display lighting for meat cases can be your one-stop solution for fresh meat display case lighting. They are high color definition LEDs that emit less heat and UV radiation, perfect for protecting your meat products from untimely discoloration and decomposition.