Mechanical Tenderization Called Into Question by Health Canada

Posted on October 22, 2012

Canada has been in the throes of what has been labeled as the biggest meat recall in the history of the country.  Now, Health Canada (basically Canada’s counterpart to the Food and Drug Administration) is looking into whether or not the mechanical tenderizing practice could be to blame and what can be done in the future to prevent calamity.

The recall pertains to XL Foods beef produced in Alberta.  Last month, safety officials ascertained that this meat could have been infected with the E. coli bacteria.  Kids, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone whose immune system is weakened are particularly at risk of incurring an infection upon making contact with this bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspects that meat tenderization conducted by a machine at an Alberta Costco could have contributed to at least some of the reported illnesses.  This mechanical process works by way of a machine stabbing long prongs deep into the meat.  If any E. coli was present on the surface of the beef, it would then potentially get moved deeper into the meat.  Cooking that would normally eliminate the threat would then not get the job done if the beef is still rare in the middle.

Health Canada has announced its intention to look into the practice and see if anything needs to be done to prevent widespread illnesses in the future.

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