New Labelling Rules for Mechanically Tenderised Beef Products10 June 2013
US – The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing new requirements for labelling beef products that have been mechanically tenderised, including adding new cooking instructions.
"Ensuring that consumers have effective tools and information is important in helping them protect their families against foodborne illness," said Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen.
"This proposed rule would enhance food safety by providing clear labelling of mechanically-tenderized beef products and outlining new cooking instructions so that consumers and restaurants can safely prepare these products."
To increase tenderness, some cuts of beef go through a process known as mechanical tenderisation, during which they are pierced by needles or sharp blades in order to break up muscle fibres.
Research has shown that this process may transfer pathogens present on the outside of the cut to the interior.
Because of the possible presence of pathogens in the interior of the product, mechanically tenderized beef products may pose a greater threat to public health than intact beef products, if they are not cooked properly.
The proposed rule would require that mechanically tenderized product is labelled so that consumers know they are purchasing product that has been mechanically tenderised.
The rule would also require the labels of mechanically tenderized product to display validated cooking instructions, so that consumers have the information they need to cook this product in a way that destroys illness-causing pathogens.
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