Mechanically tenderized beef labels mandatory in Canada

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OTTAWA, Ontario – Effective Aug. 21, all mechanically tenderized beef products in Canada must be clearly labeled as "mechanically tenderized" and include instructions for safe cooking.

Canada's federal government developed the labeling law following the largest beef recall in Canada's history. XL Foods Inc., Brooks, Alberta, was linked to beef contaminated with E. coli that sickened 18 people. A subsequent recall included 1,800 beef products. Food-safety authorities identified mechanically tenderized beef as part of the problem.

New labels on packages of mechanically tenderized beef will emphasize cooking the meat to a minimum internal temperature of 63°C (145°F) and turning over mechanically tenderized steaks at least twice during cooking.

"Without clear labels, it is difficult for consumers to know which beef products have been mechanically tenderized," said Health Minister Rona Ambrose. "Today's announcement, along with new industry labeling guidelines we have released, will help Canadians know when they are buying these products and how to cook them. This regulatory change is another step in our government's commitment to make certain that consumers have the food safety information they need."

The new labeling regulation applies to all industry sectors selling uncooked mechanically tenderized beef to other industry members or consumers. This includes, but is not limited to, retailers, butcher shops, meat processors and importers.

Federally registered plants that produce mechanically tenderized beef cuts such as steaks or roasts have been required to label those products as tenderized and with cooking instructions since July 2013.
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