The effect of different lighting environments (fluorescent vs LED) on ground beef in a retail setting

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This study was conducted to determine the effect of different lighting environments on visual and instrumental color, cook loss, lipid oxidation, and aerobic bacteria population on ground beef in a controlled retail setting. Samples (n = 150) comprised of beef chuck shoulder clods (USDA-IMPS #114) were ground to a lean:fat ratio of 85:15 and packaged in overwrap trays. Packages were randomly assigned to one of two lighting treatments (fluorescent [FLO] and light emitting diode [LED]) and placed in a refrigerated display area. Samples (n = 30 / 15 per treatment) were selected for removal on one of five days (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) for visual color panels, instrumental color scores (L*, a*, b*), cook loss, Aerobic Plate Count (APC) and lipid oxidation (TBARS). Visual color panels detected a significant difference between FLO and LED (P < 0.05) on d 3, 4 and 5 for acceptability of meat color, desirability, and likeliness to purchase. FLO was higher on consumer preference in all areas of the hedonic scales on d 3, 4 and 5 (P < 0.05). Similarly, FLO exhibited significantly higher raw meat a* values on d 1, 2, 4, and 5 (P < 0.05). Significant differences did occur for APC population counts and TBARS values (P < 0.05), however no consistent pattern was determined across treatments for FLO and LED. Fluorescent lighting proved to sustain favorable color attributes to consumers over time when compared to LED lighting.