Why do some beef pieces shine like a rainbow🌈?? Many think it’s due to contamination or heavy metals. Some even fear it’s from irradiated cattle. So, what’s the truth? Is the beef toxic, and if so, what is the toxic substance?

In the age of social media, even food can go viral, drawing worldwide attention and sparking conversations. A recent unusual phenomenon known as ‘Rainbow Meat’ has fascinated internet users. This image sparked debates and aroused curiosity online.

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A Facebook page shared a picture of beef exhibiting a rainbow sheen. The picture was shared over a hundred times.

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Furthermore, many users have expressed diverse opinions about the mentioned picture.

The Science Behind “Rainbow Meat”

Rainbow-like colors in certain cuts of meat are caused by how light interacts with the meat’s structure, similar to how a prism refracts light into different colors. The meat’s structure, which is made up of bundles of muscle fibers in various alignments, plays a vital role in this.

The angle at which the light hits the meat’s surface, otherwise known as the angle of incidence, also affects the color we see. The reflected light may appear as a specific color on the spectrum, depending on this angle, leading to the rainbow effect often observed in meat.

In short, the rainbow hues in meat are a naturally occurring optical phenomenon caused by the interaction of light with the meat’s structure.

This figure illustrates the phenomenon of ‘rainbow meat’, which can occur in both cooked and cured meat. The manifestation of this rainbow effect can be influenced by the way the meat is cut and its level of moisture.

Additionally, the various color pigments in animal meat can produce iridescent or greenish hues when exposed to heat and processing. However, the rainbow or iridescent shimmer on the meat doesn’t signify poor quality or safety risks. These colors are simply natural reactions between light and the structure of the meat. Cooked meats with a rainbow hue are as safe for consumption as those with normal colors.

Example of rainbow meat from Atmospheric Optics UK. ©John Flyte Jr & ©Steven Boersma


The “rainbow meat” phenomenon is natural and not indicative of any danger. This rainbow appearance results from light interacting with the meat’s structure. Moreover, meat exhibiting a rainbow sheen does not generally have lower quality than regular meat and is still safe to eat

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