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Beef in E. coli recall was mechanically tenderized

(Ed. note - update to the story we covered earlier at http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=2340)

A Christmas Eve recall of 248,000 pounds of beef linked to an E. coli outbreak in 16 states has focused new attention on an industrial method used to tenderize tough beef and pork.

Oklahoma-based National Steak and Poultry recalled boneless steaks, bacon-wrapped beef fillets, steak tips and skirt steaks. The Department of Agriculture says the meats are suspected in 21 cases of illness from E. coli O157:H7. No victims died, but several were hospitalized.

The USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a link between eating these blade-tenderized steaks and several cases of the illness.

Mechanical tenderization, or "needling," is done on tougher cuts such as strip and T-bone steaks, as well as sirloin, loin and rib steaks, says the American Meat Institute's Scott Goltry.

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