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Mechanically Tenderized Meat Must Now Be Labeled

Nobody likes their steak to be too tough. This is why many meat lovers enjoy mechanically tenderized beef. This process uses blades and sharp needles to continuously puncture each piece of meat, severing and breaking down the touch muscle fibers that can make certain cuts more difficult to eat than others. 

The USDA will require separate labeling for the 6.2 billion servings of tenderized meat consumed each year.

However, the promise of perfectly tenderized beef does not come without risk. Typically, consumers will assume that the most dangerous bacteria is located on the surface of the meat when cooking a steak.

As long as the outside is cooked possibly, diners can enjoy a nice pink or red interior without seriously threatening their health. But the process of mechanical tenderizing may push E. coli, salmonella and other dangerous pathogens from the surface of the meat to the inside. This would require more time on the grill at a higher temperature to be safe.

Unfortunately, previous meat labeling regulations did not require any indication that a piece of beef has been tenderized in this manner. Only since May 17, 2016 has this changed. According to Food Safety News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services will begin requiring separate labeling for the 6.2 billion servings of tenderized meat that Americans consume each year.

These labels will not only clearly identify the meat as processed, but also recommend that consumers heat each piece to a specific interior temperature necessary to kill any inside pathogens.

In the meat industry, as in so many other markets, proper regulatory compliance requires quality printing capabilities. Durafast offers printing solutions that help users produce exactly the labels they need in a cost-effective manner. Contact us today!

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