Published Date: 2009-12-30 14:00:05
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157 - USA (09): tenderized, non-intact steak
Archive Number: 20091230.4389
E. COLI O157 - USA (09): TENDERIZED, NON-INTACT STEAK
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 24 Dec 2009
Source: CNN [edited]
A beef recall is under way in a half-dozen states involving possibly
contaminated products from the Oklahoma company National Steak and
Poultry, according to the firm and federal inspectors.
The USA Agriculture Department officials said a cluster of illnesses
involving the _E. coli_ [O157:H7] bacterium was reported in Colorado,
Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington state. The cases
then were linked with beef the Owasso, Oklahoma, company produced in
October, prompting the government to direct a Class I recall,
indicating the highest risk of illness if the products are consumed.
On Thursday [24 Dec 2009], National Steak and Poultry began a
voluntary recall of 248 000 pounds of beef products marketed under
its name as well as under names that include Carino's Boneless Beef
and Moe's Beef Steak. A consumer hotline at the company carries a
recorded message noting "this is the 1st recall in our company's
nearly 30-year history." National Steak and Poultry did not
acknowledge any contaminationin its beef processing or packaging
facilities, but the recording said the firm "will err on the side of
being cautious" with the recall.
[Byline: Paul Courson]
Date: Mon 28 Dec 2009
Source: ABC News [edited]
National Steak and Poultry is voluntarily recalling about 248 000
pounds of beef it said might be contaminated with a strain of _E.
coli_ [O157:H7]. The company said the meat could be linked to
illnesses in 6 states.
The Owasso-based company and the USA Agriculture Department announced
the recall on Thursday [24 Dec 2009]. National Steak and Poultry says
on its Web site the beef products "could potentially be implicated in
an outbreak" of illnesses related to _E. coli_.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service became aware of the
problem while investigating a cluster of illnesses and determined
there is an association between non-intact steaks, which have been
blade tenderized prior to further processing, and illnesses in
Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington.
The products being recalled include various sizes of the company's
"Boneless Beef Sirloin Steak," "Boneless Beef Tips," "Savory Sirloin
Tips," "Bacon Wrapped Beef Fillet," "Beef Shoulder Marinated Tender
Medallions," "75 percent Boneless Beef Trimmings," "Beef Trimmings"
and "Beef Sirloin Philly Steak."
Also being recalled are various sizes of "EGN Boneless Beef Sirloin
Steak," "EGN Boneless Beef Sirloin Tri Tip Steak," "KRM Boneless Beef
Sirloin Steak," "Carino's Boneless Beef Outside Skirt Steak,"
"Carino's Boneless Beef Outside Skirt Steak Pieces" and "Moe's Beef
National Steak and Poultry said the recalled products are in packages
bearing a label with the establishment number "EST. 6010T" inside the
USDA mark of inspection and packaging dates of "10/12/2009,"
"10/13/2009," "10/14/2009," or "10/21/2009." The company said the
products were shipped to restaurants nationwide.
The company said in a statement that the recalled beef was produced
at its Owasso facility. It said the recall is limited to beef
products sold primarily to the Moe's, Carino's Italian Grill, and KRM
restaurants in the 6 states.
Date: 30 Dec 2009
Source: Washington Post [Edited]
E. coli-tainted beef infects 21 people in 16 states
Twenty-one people in 16 states have been infected in recent days with
a potentially lethal strain of E. coli bacteria, after consuming beef
in restaurants supplied by the same Oklahoma meat company, federal
The outbreak spurred the company, National Steak and Poultry, to
voluntarily recall 248,000 pounds of beef Dec. 24. The products,
which range from steaks to sirloin tips, were packaged in October and
shipped to restaurants, hotels and institutions nationwide, according
to the company.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection
Service has only a partial list of restaurants that received the
potentially tainted beef, including two chains, Moe's and Carino's
Italian Grill, primarily in the West and Midwest.
The recall is considered a "class 1" or a "high health risk" by the
USDA, which regulates the meat industry, because among the pathogens
that can harm human health, E. coli O157:H7 is one of the most
lethal. Even for those who survive, there can be long-term health
Nine of the 21 sickened have been hospitalized, the USDA reported.
The department has identified cases in six states -- Colorado, Iowa,
Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington
The agency said the contamination appears to have begun with tainted
beef used for chopped steak that was "co-mingled" with other products
in the plant. Jerry Mande, the USDA's deputy undersecretary for food
safety, said the investigation is continuing. A telephone message
left for the company was not returned.
The outbreak is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the agency that tracks national illness outbreaks, to be
relatively small. But it is significant because it is at least the
fourth associated with mechanically tenderized beef since 2000.
Mechanical tenderization softens tough cuts of beef by hammering the
meat with metal needles or blades that break up muscle fibers and
connective tissue. It is often used to improve the tenderness of
roasts and steaks that are cooked at a processing plant before being
sent to restaurants. In the meat industry, it is referred to as
Consumer advocates say mechanical tenderization poses contamination
risks in meats that are served rare, such as steaks, because it can
bring bacteria from the surface of meat to the center of the cut. A
rare steak may be cooked enough so that bacteria on the surface are
killed but those inside the meat survive.
"This is something that's been coming along. It's not an overnight
problem," said Carol L. Tucker-Foreman of Consumer Federation of
America, part of a coalition that wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom
Vilsack in June to express concern about mechanically tenderized
meat. "The USDA has been looking at this for a long time. . . .
People have proposed ways to address it and nothing was done about it
in the Clinton administration, the Bush administration and now the
At a minimum, the government should issue guidelines to consumers and
the restaurant industry that specifically address mechanically
tenderized meat, and the products should be labeled because consumers
cannot detect whether a cut of meat has been "needled," she said.
"Retailers should have to label mechanically tenderized meat and say
'Don't eat this product rare.' "
Mande said the USDA agrees that the public needs better information
about the risks of mechanically tenderized beef, and the agency is
considering labeling and education efforts.
But James H. Hodges, executive vice president of the American Meat
Institute, said in a statement that mechanically tenderized beef
carries no greater risk than other meat and that special labels are
[Byline: Lyndsey Layton]
[The following is a discussion regarding the issue of non-intact
steaks and roasts, pieces of meat that have be tenderized by needle
or blade which can introduce pathogens (especially _E. coli_ O157:H7)
to the internal aspect of the meat where it may survive better than
its "surface" cousins.
In 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety
and Inspection Service (FSIS)
asked the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria
for Foods (NACMCF) whether non-intact, blade tenderized beef and beef
roasts presented a greater risk to consumers from _E. coli_ 0157:H7
compared to intact beef steaks if prepared similarly. Based on a
Kansas State University Study, beef products mechanically tenderized
or injected with marinade before purchasing can carry approximately 3
to 4 percent of the surface bacteria to the inside of the beef
product, meaning that there is a greater risk to consumers from _E.
Since 2000, there have been 4 _E. coli_ outbreaks associated with
non-intact beef steaks (Canada, Michigan, Colorado and Minnesota) and
2 outbreaks involving beef roasts. As a result, the FSIS published a
notice in the May 26 Federal Register titled "HACCP Plan Reassessment
for Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products." In this notice, FSIS
asked each plant operator that mechanically tenderizes meat products
to specifically consider in the annual reassessment of their HACCP
plan the significance of these recent outbreaks as a hazard that is
reasonably likely to occur.
The FSIS also recommended these processors implement purchase
specifications requiring the incoming product to be treated to reduce
or eliminate _E. coli_ to an undetectable level or apply an approved
antimicrobial to the meat. The FSIS noted it is considering requiring
raw, mechanically tenderized beef products to be labeled showing it
has undergone mechanical tenderization. In light of this newly
identified risk to consumers' health, the Dairy and Food Protection
Branch (Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental
and Natural Resources) recommends the following changes to the
handling of non-intact meat products:
1. All beef not labeled as intact and without buyer specifications to
show that it is intact must be assumed to be a non-intact beef
product based on the standard meat processing industry practices of
pinning, tenderizing or injecting these products. This also includes
comminuted beef steak (chopped, flaked, ground, minced, restructured
2. Cook non-intact beef products to a temperature of 155 degrees F as
measured by a properly calibrated food thermometer as required by the
FDA Food Code.
3. If you currently tenderize beef steaks or other beef products in
your restaurant kitchen, please stop this practice.
4. Educate your staff about the identified risks of mechanically
tenderized (non-intact) beef products.
5. When possible, notify consumers about the risk of getting _E.
coli_ from mechanically tenderized (nonintact) beef steaks and roasts.
The NACMCF research also showed that blade-tenderized steaks present
no greater risk than intact steaks if oven-broiled to an internal
temperature of 140 degrees F or above as measured by a food
thermometer. In September 2002, the NCAMCF also found there was
insufficient data to support the need for a labeling requirement to
distinguish between intact and non-intact beef. Since it is often
impossible to visually tell in all cases whether a steak or roast has
been mechanically tenderized or injected, it is recommended that
these products be cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
Protect your customers by following the above guidelines until a
labeling requirement or microbial treatment of non-intact beef
products, or both, are required. - Mod.LL]