USDA requiring new safely label on tenderized meat

If beef is part of your family’s diet, you’ll likely notice a new label on it. According to the Associated Press, the government will soon require labels on packages of beef tenderized by machines so shoppers know to cook it thoroughly. 

Mechanically tenderized meat, the AP reports, is poked with needles or blades to make it tender, a process that can also transfer bacteria from the outside of the cut to the inside. The labels will also include cooking instructions to ensure consumers cook the meet long enough to kill bacteria. 

Alan Hughes, owner of Hughes Market and Meat processing, said he understands the risk, but isn’t sure another label is going to stop sickness. 

“When the consumer gets it home, they’re going to do what they want to with it,” Hughes said. He added that he’ll still sick the new labels on right next to the “safe handling” label that’s already on his products. That label reminds consumers to handle raw meat with care, wash their hands, and cook it thoroughly. 

According to the AP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been six outbreaks of illness linked to mechanically tenderized beef in the last 15 years. The labels will be required starting May, 2016. 

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