Kansas State University (KSU) researchers are using modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) to keep the bones of packaged beef from darkening and becoming less appealing to grocery shoppers. The team led by KSU animal science professor Michael Dikeman used three different modified atmospheres in the study: high oxygen MAP, ultra-low oxygen MAP, and the traditional tray and over-wrap film that results in a moderate oxygen atmosphere.

The checkoff-funded study found bone discoloration, which doesn't affect meat quality, was less in low-oxygen atmospheres. In addition, meat shelf life was extended 10-14 days. Traditional clear plastic wrap only keeps meat fresh for 3-5 days.