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USDA to Require Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized Beef

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meatMechanically tenderized beef will need to be so labeled by May 2016, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The new labeling requirements cover raw or partially cooked beef products, the FSIS said in a statement.

“This commonsense change will lead to safer meals and fewer foodborne meat 2illnesses,” said USDA Deputy Undersecretary Al Almanza.

Some cuts of beef are tenderized mechanically by piercing them with needles or small blades in order to break up tissue. But the process can introduce pathogens from the surface of the cut to the interior, making proper cooking very important.

The potential presence of pathogens in the interior of these products means meat 3they should be cooked differently than intact cuts, the statements said. “FSIS is finalizing these new labeling requirements because mechanically tenderized products look no different than intact product, but it is important for consumers to know that they need to handle them differently,” the agency said.

Labels must include not only that the meat was mechanically tenderized, but validated cooking instructions as well, including minimum internal temperature, the FSIS said. Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of six outbreaks attributable to needle- or blade-tenderized beef products, the statement said.

Source: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

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