According to The Charlotte Observer, the USDA is stamping a new warning label on beef starting this week.
The new label informs consumers that the beef is mechanically tenderized. But what does that mean, exactly?
Mechanical tenderizing means running meat through a machine that pierces and breaks down the muscle fibers with needles and blades to make the meat easier to chew.
This process also increases the risk of contamination that can make you sick. Pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella can be passed from one piece of meat to the next. Additionally, the bacteria can be pushed further inside the meat, meaning it has to be cooked to a higher internal temperature to ensure the pathogens are killed.
Since 2000, the CDC has traced six outbreaks of foodborne illness to mechanically tenderized beef products prepared in restaurants and consumers’ homes.
In 2009, 21 people in 16 states were infected with the most common strain of dangerous E. coli. Nine had to be hospitalized, and one victim developed a fatal kidney disease. USDA food safety officials connected the illnesses to blade-tenderized steaks from National Steak and Poultry, and the company recalled 248,000 pounds of beef products.
According to Patricia Buck, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, a nonprofit advocacy group, “We need to improve how we tell consumers and the food service workers about the particular risks that would be involved in cooking it so that they can reduce the risk of illness.
Find the possibility of contracting E. coli frightening? Take a moment and think about how frightening the conditions on a factory farm are for the animals.
Protect your health and reduce animal suffering by switching to a compassionate plant-based diet. Visit ChooseVeg.com for more information.