May 14, 2015


USDA: Tenderized beef to be labelled from May 2016



From May 2016, beef, which undergo machine tenderization, are required to be labelled as such before public sales in the US, the USDA states.


According to the country's Agriculture Department, the ruling will help to specifically identify beef which are tenderized via mechanical, blade or needle methods. In addition, labelling will be accompanied with cooking instructions which will advise on proper preparations that kill bacteria off the meat.


The measure is based on concerns of bacterial contamination which can transmit into the inner regions of beef during mechanical tenderization. It poses a threat to human health since many people may consume the middle portion of the meat that is not cooked fully.


Labelling will be able to prevent hundreds of illnesses annually, according to the USDA.


In fact, during the last 15 years, six outbreaks had occurred and were linked to mechanically tenderized beef, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted.


"We are confident in the safety of products that are mechanically tenderised to increase tenderness, a trait that consumers desire in meat products," Barry Carpenter, from the North American Meat Institute, said.


He assured that meat companies will comply with the ruling which was first proposed in 2013 and brought into discussion with the USDA.


Still, officials from the meat industry are convinced that labelling is not needed as efforts have been made to ensure safer products over the years.

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