Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Myoglobin and meat color

Sponsored: Myoglobin and meat color

I unwrapped my ground beef and it was red on the outside but gray/slightly brown on the inside! What’s going on?

This meat is NOT bad! All meat has a red-colored pigment, known as myoglobin, that causes its color. When meat is exposed to oxygen the myoglobin will change in color from purple-red (deoxymyoglobin) to bright-red (oxymyoglobin). If the myoglobin is deprived of oxygen, like what would happen to the center of ground meat, it will be slightly brown (metmyoglobin). Once you unwrap the ground meat and expose the inside of the meat to oxygen it will begin to “bloom” and the color will change from the slightly brown to purple-red. 

At Ingles Markets all meat  will show a date on the package. If your ground meat is bright red on the outside and has a “fresh meat” odor It is fine and safe to eat!


Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian

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