The rate of cooked meat haemoprotein formation (measured as the rate of loss of myoglobin solubility) was found, at least initially, to obey first order kinetics in meat, aqueous muscle extracts and mixtures of myoglobin and bovine serum albumin. In meat at 60 °C the rate was dependent on the species, (the pigment was formed significantly faster in lamb m. longissimus dorsi than in beef m. longissimus dorsi) and anatomical location (cooked meat haemoprotein was formed in beef m. 1. dorsi about twice as rapidly as in both beef shin and chuck (shoulder) muscle of similar pH). The rate of formation was similar in aqueous muscle extracts to that found in meat and in these systems increased with decreasing pH. The activation energies for all beef systems studied were similar and typical of those associated with protein denaturation (~300 KJ mol(-1)); however, that from lamb appeared to be lower (~200 KJ mol(-1)). The problems of using colour as an index of temperature reached, either for microbial safety (E. Coli 0157:H7 destruction) or quality are discussed in the light of these results.