Mmm – tender, juicy steak you can slice with a fork. Sounds delicious, huh? Well it usual comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily the beef industry, like other large companies, has found a solution for you. Or maybe not so lucky, considering their way of making beef products more tender without being too pricey is to pierce the meat repeatedly with needles. This opens up the potential for contamination by pathogens and other unwanted substances.
Yup, pathogens. The same stuff we work so hard to keep out of our bodies, we end up putting it right in our mouths without even knowing it. This mechanical tenderization process has led to at least 5 outbreaks of food poisoning since 2003, according to the CDC. The USDA has recently proposed a labeling law that will require such processing information to be shared.
The idea behind the labeling law is to let consumers know a particular cut of meat may need to be cooked longer in order to decrease the potential risk of bacteria. Heating meat to a high enough temperature (160 degrees Fahrenheit) will kill the pathogens, thus decreasing the risk of illness.
The proposed ruling is currently up for debate. Add your two cents on the issue here.