Frequently Asked Questions
Search Knowlege Base
What causes silverware to discolor after using it to cut meat?
Low-grade stainless cutlery may react with the surface of meat and cause a discoloration. A metal from the surface of the cutlery is reacting as a pro-oxidant to cause the oxidation of myoglobin to metmyoglobin. The culprit may be iron that is a large portion of the metals in stainless steel. Other metals in stainless steel are carbon, chromium, manganese, silicon, molybdenum, nickel, tungsten and vanadium. It is the chromium that makes it "stainless" as opposed to regular steel cookware. Steel must be at least 11-1/2% chromium in order to qualify as stainless. Most stainless steel is designated 18-8. This means it contains 18 parts chromium and 8 parts nickel. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)