This video presents “New health and safety labels on beef to prevent bacterial food poisoning.”
- “Mechanically tenderized beef now ID’d with sticker indicating cooking temp of 63 C.”
Mechanically Tenderized Beef (MTB): Greater Risk of E. coli O157 Bacteria Contamination from MTB Products When Compared to Intact Cuts of Beef
Here is Health Canada’s explanation.
In 2012, 18 cases of foodborne illness caused by Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157) were reported as part of a Canadian outbreak associated with contaminated beef.
- During the food safety investigation following the outbreak, five cases were considered to be likely associated with the consumption of beef that had been mechanically tenderized at the retail level.
Mechanical tenderization of meat is a practice that has been used by processors, food services and retailers for many years to improve the tenderness and flavour of beef.
- The process of mechanically tenderizing meat involves using instruments such as needles or blades to break-down, penetrate or pierce its surface disrupting the muscle fibers, or injecting it with a marinade or tenderizing solution.
- It is not necessarily apparent by just looking at a mechanically tenderized meat product that it has undergone this process.
In general, the internal temperature of a steak or other solid cut of beef is not a significant concern given that any harmful bacteria that may be present would normally be on the surface of the meat and would be inactivated during cooking.
- However, when steaks and beef cuts are mechanically tenderized, there is a potential for bacteria to be transferred from the surface to the centre of the meat.
- Therefore, there may be an increased risk to consumers from MTB.
In May 2013, Health Canada completed a health risk assessment specifically focused on E. coli O157 in MTB (Catford et al., 2013).
- The results of the assessment showed a five-fold increase in risk from MTB products when compared to intactFootnote 1 cuts of beef.
- The assessment also noted that without labels, it is difficult for Canadians to identify which beef products have been mechanically tenderized.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose recently announced the following new labelling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef (MTB) to help consumers know when they are buying MTB products and how to cook them: