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The Washington Post this morning reports that the House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing later today to review the use of carbon monoxide gas in the meat industry.

“The hearing is in the cross hairs of activists opposed to the spiking of packaged red meats with carbon monoxide gas, which keeps cuts crimson no matter how old the meat,” the Post reports, noting that “meat producers are enthusiastic about carbon monoxide, which in small quantities poses no risk when consumed. By keeping meat red it boosts sales of aging but still edible cuts that would otherwise be tossed or discounted because of poor appearance -- a waste the industry says costs it $1 billion a year.” Opponents, however, are looking for the practice to be banned as deceptive, and are hoping that at the very least the government will conduct a full safety review of the practice.

Under pressure from activists, retailers including Safeway and Ahold-owned Stop & Shop and Giant, as well as manufacturer Tyson Foods, have announced that they will no longer sell products using the technology.

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