Requires Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized
Requires Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized Meat
USDA's new requirement that the meat industry label cuts of
meat that have been needle- or blade-tenderized is a common
sense remedy that can protect consumers. This little-known
but widespread industry practice can push surface pathogens
to the interior of the meat, making those bacteria much
harder to kill unless a consumer cooks the meat to well
done. Consumers and restaurants should exercise more care
when cooking these products and use a meat thermometer to
ensure an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees, plus
a three-minute rest period, or even 160 degrees.
USDA should accelerate
the requirement and make labels mandatory by January 2014.
In the meantime, consumers should ask at the meat counter if
the products they are buying have been mechanically
tenderized and select intact cuts if they prefer meat rare
or medium rare.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a nonprofit
health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, that focuses
on nutrition and food safety policies. CSPI is supported by
the 900,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition
Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.