Flu Bug Blog

USDA Cautions About Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products: UT Public Health & Preventive Medicine

Do we really need to worry about beef products that are poked and prodded to make them easier to chew?  Apparently so.  USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing new requirements for labeling beef products that have been mechanically tenderized.  That includes adding new cooking instructions.


According to the USDA press release of 6/6/2013, research has shown that this process of jabbing the meat to break up muscle fibers may actually transfer pathogens, like E. coli, that are present on the outside of the carcass into the intramuscular depths. Routine cooking may not kill the buggers!

The proposed rule would require that mechanically tenderized product be labeled to warn consumers  they are purchasing a meat product that has been mechanically tenderized. The rule would also require  that validated cooking instructions be printed on the meat labels.

In fact, to be safe, it’s suggested that the internal temperature of the meat be at least 145 degrees (maybe even 160 degrees), plus a three-minute rest period.

Attached are the relevant links to obtain more information.




After you digest all this, you may want to consider purchasing a cooking thermometer or becoming a vegetarian.

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About Dr. Paul Rega

Paul Rega is a board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health & Disease Prevention and the Department of Emergency Medicine. A passion in Disaster Medicine has resulted, over the years, in multiple deployments, research and education both nationally and internationally. This has branched out into developing strategies associated with counter-terrorism and pandemics. Currently, Paul is assisting with H1N1 preparedness and response within UT and into the region.




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