Mechanically Tenderized Beef
What is Mechanically Tenderized Beef?
To increase tenderness, some cuts of beef go through a process known as mechanical tenderization. During this process, the steaks are pierced with needles or sharp blades to break up muscle fibers. The tenderization process can take place in the processing establishment before the beef is packaged, at a butcher or grocery store, at a restaurant, or in the home.
What is the Risk?
The process of mechanically tenderizing beef may pose some health risks. If the outside of the meat contains bacteria, it will be transferred to the inside of the meat during mechanical tenderization, requiring it to be cooked to kill the germs. Therefore, it is important to remember food safety when preparing these products. The best way to ensure it’s safe to eat is to thoroughly cook all mechanically tenderized meat to an internal temperature of 145 F with a 3-minute rest time.
Mechanically tenderized products look no different from products that are not mechanically tenderized. The only way to tell if meat has been mechanically tenderized is by checking the label.
Cooking Beef Safely
All raw beef steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes after it has been removed from the heat source before slicing or consuming. During this rest time, the internal temperature is either constant or slightly rises to continue destroying pathogens. The only way to know meat is safely cooked is using a food thermometer to ensure the safe internal temperature was reached.