USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing labeling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef products, including validating cooking instructions, so consumers know they are purchasing product that has been mechanically tenderized.

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FSIS said, “This proposed rule would enhance food safety by providing clear labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products and outlining new cooking instructions so that consumers and restaurants can safely prepare these products.”  To increase tenderness, some cuts of beef go through a process known as mechanical tenderization, during which they are pierced by needles or sharp blades in order to break up muscle fibers. According to FSIS, research has shown that this process may transfer pathogens present on the outside of the cut to the interior. “Because of the possible presence of pathogens in the interior of the product, mechanically tenderized beef products may pose a greater threat to public health than intact beef products, if they are not cooked properly.”