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In many markets, consumers are demanding more information about the ingredients, history and production methods of their goods. This is especially true for food products, as Americans have become more health conscious and are increasingly willing to pay a premium for high-quality goods. This has caused an explosion in the use of terms such as “all-natural,” “local,” humanely-raised” and other claims that speak to above-average product quality.
In several states, legislators are still weighing the decision to require labeling for genetically modified food products. But now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are also weighing the decision whether to require a label on mechanically tenderized beef.
The labeling initiative, if passed, would require all mechanically tenderized beef to be labeled by 2016. Consumer advocacy groups have been pressuring lawmakers to make a decision on this matter for a number of years, based on concerns about the process’ safety.
“Mechanical tenderization of beef poses health risks because it transfers potential pathogens from the surface of the meat down into the center. If the cuts are cooked rare or not thoroughly enough, the pathogens in the center may go on to sicken the consumer,” explains Food Safety News.
Approximately one-quarter of all beef sold in the United States is mechanically tenderized, meaning that any new labeling requirements will have a significant impact on the industry.
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