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When I buy steaks, sometimes they include a padding in the packaging, on which the steak sits, which contains a red substance:

enter image description here

What is it? What is its purpose, and can I assume, that it is not poisonous? I unintentionally cut into this one and it had some contact with the steak.

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That "padding" is an absorbent pad made of paper and plastic; the "red substance" inside is the juices (often mistakenly believed to be "blood") that have seeped out of the meat; the purpose of the absorbent pad is to absorb this liquid and keep the interior of the tray dry. Without it, the liquid would pool up and potentially spill out when the tray was opened or handled. Because the "red substance" came from the meat itself, no, it is not poisonous; the packaging is regulated to prevent toxic components from being used, so it too is not poisonous.

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    * But it won't taste good, even if you cook it.... – simon at rcl Apr 12 at 16:17
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    @simonatrcl My dog would beg to differ with you. – Kenster Apr 12 at 17:29
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    @Kenster your dog would also probably beg to differ if you'd said bird poop won't taste good even if you cook it... – Doktor J Apr 12 at 19:59
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    Also known as a meat nappy - urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Meat%20nappy – ggdx Apr 12 at 20:31
  • Oh, I see! At first I thought it was an extra piece of meat, as an extra or something. Then I thought, that it might be some synthetic material. – user1721135 Apr 12 at 22:27

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