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USDA proposes labels on mechanically tenderized meat

USDA proposes labels on mechanically tenderized meat

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that mechanically tenderized meat will soon require new labels including cooking instructions.

The labels will be placed on meat that has been tenderized mechanically using needles or blades to make the product tender. Meat that’s undergone the tenderizing process can become more susceptible to harmful pathogens such as E.coli, because the process pushes pathogens into the centre of the meat. For safety reasons, tenderized meat products like steaks and roasts should be cooked longer. Meat that’s tenderized looks the same as meat that hasn’t undergone the process; the new labels will identify the differences. Mechanically tenderized meat represents 26% of all beef sold in the United States. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, mechanically tenderized meat has sickened at least 174 in the U.S.

The Canadian government announced a similar requirement a few weeks ago, which was largely in response to the country’s largest beef recall in history that sickened 18 people last year.


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