A method is described whereby precise measurement of discoloration in fresh red meats can be achieved. The method utilizes α values obtained from Gardner automatic color-difference meter readings and depends upon careful control of storage temperature, control of sample area from which readings are taken, and consistent orientation of sample during subsequent readings.

Results obtained with the method indicate considerable variation in discoloration of samples from the same slice of beef round stored at 6°C; a substantial decrease in discoloration with lowered storage temperature; a decrease in discoloration resulting from increased exposure of the sample to air; and the probable importance of respiration by the meat rather than bacterial contamination in determining discoloration at low temperatures (-2°C).