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Meat Institute Receives Clarification on Application of Mechanically Tenderized Rule to Corned Beef and Beef Bacon Products

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) responded to Meat Institute concerns regarding the applicability of the final rule “Descriptive Designation for Needle- or Blade Tenderized (Mechanically Tenderized) Beef Products” to beef bacon and corned beef products. FSIS clarified that it will not enforce the requirements of the rule for raw or partially cooked products labeled as “corned beef” that have been mechanically tenderized, including through injection with a solution, and for raw or partially cooked beef bacon product that has been mechanically tenderized, including through injection with a solution, after the rule takes effect on May 17, 2016. FSIS explained corned beef products are customarily prepared at a cooking time and temperature combination that is sufficient to destroy pathogenic bacteria. FSIS also said beef bacon product is typically prepared in a manner that effectively destroys pathogenic bacteria, and cited the difficulty of measuring the end product temperature of beef bacon product through use of a thermometer, as recommended in the required validated cooking instructions in the final rule.

Meanwhile, FSIS posted three new questions and answers related to how establishments can meet the requirements for validated cooking instructions on the labels of mechanically tenderized raw beef products. The question and answers address the minimum requirements for validated cooking instructions on the labels of mechanically tenderized beef, the use of tables or grids and how an establishment can validate cooking instructions on interim products that are shipped to hotels, restaurants and institutions.

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