Factors influencing internal color of cooked meats

Surendranath P. Suman, Mahesh N. Nair, Poulson Joseph, Melvin C. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


This manuscript overviews the pertinent research on internal color of uncured cooked meats, biochemical processes involved in meat cookery, and fundamental mechanisms governing myoglobin thermal stability. Heat-induced denaturation of myoglobin, responsible for the characteristic dull-brown color of cooked meats, is influenced by a multitude of endogenous (i.e., pH, muscle source, species, redox state) and exogenous (i.e., packaging, ingredients, storage) factors. The interactions between these factors critically influence the internal cooked color and can confuse the consumers, who often perceive cooked color to be a reliable indicator for doneness and safety. While certain phenomena in cooked meat color are cosmetic in nature, others can mislead consumers and result in foodborne illnesses. Research in meat color suggests that processing technologies and cooking practices in industry as well as households influence the internal cooked color. Additionally, the guidelines of many international public health and regulatory authorities recommend using meat thermometers to determine safe cooking endpoint temperature and to ensure product safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
JournalMeat Science
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Internal cooked color
  • Myoglobin denaturation
  • Persistent pinking
  • Pink color defect
  • Premature browning
  • Thermal stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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