Beef labeling rule is caught in bureaucratic limbo

Jan 28, 2013

Was that meat mechanically tenderized? Soon, a label might be required to let you know.

A new beef labeling rule that has the support of food safety advocates has been under review for months by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed requiring labels on steaks and other beef products that have been mechanically tenderized. The process uses automated needles or knives that can drive deadly pathogens deep into the interior of the meat.

If the meat isn't cooked thoroughly, those pathogens can make people ill. Currently, meat doesn't have to be labeled as mechanically tenderized.

Food safety groups say the extended review unnecessarily leaves consumers at risk. An official at the budget office says the agency doesn't comment on rules that are under review.