On Your Side

Beef Risk 5/10/13

A sizzling steak on the grill looks tempting - but it may have been run
through a machine like this to make it tender.

The trouble is that sharp blades or needles can drive dangerous bacteria
- including E. coli -from the surface of the meat into the center, where
they're harder to kill.

That can increase health risks, especially for people who eat their meat rare
or medium rare.

Andrea Rock
Consumer Reports

"The Centers for Disease Control has reports of four deaths and 174
illnesses in the past ten years caused by mechanically tenderized beef that
was contaminated with harmful E. coli bacteria."

"You can't tell by looking if the beef has been run through a machine. The
meat on the left was mechanically tenderized. The piece on the right was

Costco now labels any beef that has been "blade tenderized." This after an
outbreak was linked to its meat sold in Canada last year.

Andrea Rock, "We don't know exactly how much meat in the U.S. is tenderized by
machine. Consumers Union believes it should be labeled so that people
know to cook it thoroughly."

The best way to be sure meat is thoroughly cooked is to use a meat
thermometer and make sure the temperature reaches 160 degrees in the

Andrea Rock
"Also be aware that steak and roasts you get in restaurants may be
mechanically tenderized, too. So your safest bet is to order meat well done."."

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