USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service requires meat processors to label meat that’s been mechanically tenderized and provide safe cooking instructions.
The label requirement took effect May 17.
“To increase tenderness, some cuts of beef are tenderized mechanically by piercing them with needles or small blades in order to break up tissue,” reads a USDA blog post. “The blades or needles can introduce pathogens from the surface of the beef to the interior, making proper cooking very important.”
Mechanical tenderization can take place before the beef is packaged, at the butcher counter, at a restaurant or at home.
FSIS says these products, like all whole cuts of beef, should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145F.
Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of six outbreaks attributable to undercooked mechanically tenderized beef products.
This is the latest of several measures FSIS has put in place to improve the safety of meat and poultry products and give consumers more information.
-“In 2012, USDA began enforcing a zero tolerance policy for raw beef products containing six strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, giving products that test positive for these six pathogens the same illegal and unsafe status USDA has long given products testing positive for E. coli O157:H7,” the blog reads.
-Last summer, FSIS implemented new recordkeeping requirements for retailers to track products involved in foodborne illness outbreaks back to their source.
More information can be found at USDA’s Food Safety results page.
Source: USDA FSIS