Can you eat brown meat?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat brown meat?” with an in-depth analysis of meat, how its colour is changed to brown, whether it is safe to eat brown meat and the nutritional value of meat.

Can you eat brown meat?

Yes, you can eat brown meat, because the brown colour does not indicate only spoiled meat but the brown colour may be due to oxygen exposure.

Why does the meat change colour?

Red meat products are similar to apple slices. When we cut the apple, after some time it changes its colour to brown. In the same way, meat colour is changed to reddish-brown. This colour is not an indication of spoiled meat. 

Meat is still safe to eat and wholesome with brown colour within its shelf life. This brown colour may be due to chemical changes or oxygen exposure.

The colour of the meat is fresh cherry-red until we touch it. However, this state is highly unstable and for the short term. 

The colour of meat is purplish-red until it comes in contact with air and sealed in vacuum packages. This purple-red colour is because of myoglobin pigment. Myoglobin is one of those two pigments which are responsible for the colour of the meat. Myoglobin when exposed to air is changed into oxymyoglobin that provides meat with a fresh amused cherry-red colour.

Meat that is covered within a plastic wrap usually has a cherry-red colour; this colour is also due to the passage of oxygen through the plastic wrap that enables the meat to retain its cherry-red colour. Contact of meat with the store lights and the continuous contact of myoglobin and oxymyoglobin results in the formation of metmyoglobin which is responsible to turn the meat into brown-reddish colour.

Colour is not the proper indication of spoiled meat. In stores sometimes, brown meat is placed to sell at a discounted price, it is safe to use for cooking and is edible.

Spoiled meat

Change in colour of the meat does not indicate spoilage, rather spoilage occurs after the growth of spoilage bacteria. Spoiled meat is sticky to touch, or it can be slimy. When this happens, then the meat is not edible, so it should be discarded. A good guideline for meat is to use the package within the mentioned time.

Meat does not contain any type of fat, iron and other constituents that is why some meat gives a shimmery glow. This glowing light diverges into a rainbow on the slice of meat.  Iridescence is the term that is used for this colour dispersion. Iridescence is not responsible for the decreased quality of meat.

Different pigments in the meat are responsible for this glow when the meat is undercooking or processing. Meat can be prevented from light dispersion by wrapping and sealing in airtight jars.

Nutrients in meat

Meat is a whole enrichment of protein. After cooking meat, protein weight is increased by 25 to 30%. A 3.5 ounce serving of chicken breast meat has 31 grams of protein while the same quantity of lean beef has 27 grams of protein. Animal meat is a source of complete protein, which gives all essential amino acids.

100 grams of meat provides:

  • Calories: 205
  • Protein: 27 grams
  • Riboflavin: 15% of the daily value (DV)
  • Niacin: 24% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 19% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 158% of the DV
  • Phosphorous: 19% of the DV
  • Zinc: 68% of the DV
  • Selenium: 36% of the DV

The liver and other organs are enriched in vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron and selenium. These are also a good source of choline, which is a significant nutrient for brain, liver and muscle health.

The cooking method affects carcinogens

Certain methods of cooking meat can negatively affect health.

The fat in grilled chicken, barbecued or smoked chicken is melted and rinsed onto the cooking surface. Toxic polycyclic compounds are formed because of this, that dip and immerse into the meat. 

The levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA) in meat also rises when cooking takes more time and also in the meat that is refrigerated for many days at freezing temperature. Additionally, the presence of nitrates is also considered carcinogenic in processed meat.

Meat can lead to cancer but it all depends on the conditions of cooking meat and the types of meat which we are using.


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat brown meat?” with an in-depth analysis of meat, how its colour is changed to brown, whether it is safe to eat brown meat and the nutritional value of meat.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.