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Statement of the American Meat Institute on Calls for Labels on Mechanically Tenderized Steaks

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Washington, D.C. -- “USDA officials have clearly affirmed that blade-tenderized steaks are comparable in safety to steaks that have not been mechanically tenderized. 

USDA scientists and public health experts have studied this steak tenderization process thoroughly.  In 2008, FSIS said, ‘The risk of illness from E. coli O157:H7 in non-intact beef steaks is not significantly higher than intact beef steaks.’  (Dr. Carl Schroeder, presentation “FSIS Risk Assessments for E. coli O157:H7,” April 9, 2008).

All steaks in retail stores – whether blade-tenderized or not – must bear safe handling labels instructing consumers how to cook and handle them to ensure they are safe when served.  Because blade-tenderized steaks have been found to be comparable in safety, we don’t believe that special labeling declaring the mechanical tenderization process will provide meaningful or actionable information to consumers.

A thorough investigation of illness outbreaks associated with the recalled tenderized products should be conducted to determine the cause of the outbreak. AMI will continue to seek ways to improve the safety of these products.”


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