Gov’t proposes safety labels for tenderized beef

WASHINGTON (AP) — Beef tenderized by machines before it is sold in grocery stores could soon carry labels warning customers to cook the meat thoroughly.

The USDA is proposing to require the new labels and cooking instructions for the meat, which is poked with needles or blades for tenderness.

That process can transfer pathogens from outside the cut into the beef, making it less safe if eaten uncooked or undercooked. The labels would urge cooking the meat to 145 degrees for three minutes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been five outbreaks of illness linked to mechanically tenderized beef reported since 2003.

The meat industry has opposed the labels, saying the meat is safe.

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