If you’ve been to the grocery store in the last few days, you may have seen something different on some of the meat department labels.
The US Department of Agriculture began demanding new labels for mechanically tenderized beef last month.
This is a procedure you may not be aware of, but it’s a common way to make meat more tender, which is a key selling point for beef.
It’s a very straightforward procedure. The beef is pierced with needles or knives. As a result, the tissue is broken up. The procedure can take place before the beef is packaged, at a grocery store or butcher’s counter, or in a restaurant.
Although this is an excellent method for tenderizing beef, it has one flaw.
The blades or needles will drive bacteria and germs deep into the meat’s interior, which takes longer to cook than the outside.
Mechanically tenderized beef products have been linked to six outbreaks since 2000, making this a serious concern. Hospitalization and hemolytic uremic syndrome is used in some cases. Anemia (the destruction of red blood cells) is a complication of this condition, which can lead to acute kidney failure.
In both of these incidents, undercooking these foods was a major contributing factor.
The updated labeling guidelines are a way to alert you to the higher food safety risk associated with mechanically tenderized items, which look no different from those that haven’t been handled this way.
The USDA recommends cooking these ingredients in the same way you would whole cuts of beef. Until extracting the meat from the heat source, heat it to an internal temperature of 145°F, as determined with a food thermometer.
for protection and quality Leave for at least three minutes of resting time before cutting or eating meat.The internal temperature will begin to kill pathogens during this rest period.
SOURCE: Beef Retailers Now Labeling Mechanically Tenderized Beef. News Release. USDA.