Choice Magazine recently released an article unveiling the unsettling realities about some supermarket practices in Australia.
Leaving aside the fruit and vegetable issues, it revealed the main tricks supermarkets use to keep meat for longer than they’d like you to believe. For example:
• Chilling beef mince extends the storage life to 44 days and cuts of lamb to 112 days.
• Vacuum-packing with carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Carbon dioxide inhibits growth of micro-organisms and nitrogen is an inert filler.
• Carbon monoxide is introduced to react with the myoglobin in the meat to produce a healthy-looking red colour (especially when it is no longer fresh).
It is important to note that longer shelf life is linked with the increased likelihood and danger posed by some bacteria.
When it comes to meats, there are advantages to shopping local. Butchers at your local municipal market, including those from Prahran, Queen Victoria and South Melbourne markets, still prepare and sell meat as you would expect to receive it – fresh, chemical free and natural in colour. Some even employ practices inherited from generations before them.
For example, Sean from Kirkpatrick’s Meats at South Melbourne Market (pictured), works from whole carcasses and grows the lambs they sell at his farm near Echuca. Therefore it is as little as a few days between when the meat is slaughtered and when it is available at his market stall.