The Kansas City Star investigated for a year a type of meat processing that mechanically tenderizes beef. The industry calls it “bladed” or “needled” beef, and The Kansas City Star found that “the process exposes Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning than cuts of meat that have not been tenderized.”
The report is very long, and I can only pull a few graphs. So here is the basic gist of the study but please click on the link and read it all. It is very informative.
“The process has been around for decades, but while exact figures are difficult to come by, a 2008 USDA survey showed that more than 90 percent of beef producers are using it on some cuts.
“Mechanically tenderized meat — which usually isn’t labeled — is increasingly found in grocery stores, and a vast amount is sold to family-style restaurants, hotels and group homes. In many cases, grocery stores don’t even know the meat has been tenderized.
“The American Meat Institute, an industry lobbying group, has defended the product as safe, but institute officials recently said they can’t comment further until they see the results of a pending risk assessment by the meat safety division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Although blading and injecting marinades into meat add value for the beef industry, that also can drive pathogens — including the E. coli O157:H7 that destroyed Lamkin’s colon — deeper into the meat.
“If it isn’t cooked sufficiently, people can get sick. Or die.”
There were many more findings about the production plants churning out the mass amounts of beef. Read the entire story here. (There are also graphics and photos that explain the process and show the plants.)
Should this type of mechanically tenderized beef be labeled at the market? Would it change your decision about buying a particular cut of beef? How well-done do you usually cook your steaks? What do you make of this investigation?