If you enjoy a nice juicy steak when going out to eat, be sure to read this article.
Apparently the process used to tenderize and marinate steaks can actually lead to more bacteria inside the steak then would normally be present. And if the meat is not properly cooked, as often happens at restaurants, people eating it could get very very sick.
Hollow needles are sometimes used to inject flavorings, or what the industry calls “digestive agents.” Marinades also may be added to meat, which can add to contamination risks.
Surveys of beef producers by the USDA found that most use mechanical tenderization to improve quality.
A large percentage of mechanically tenderized meat – the industry produces at least 50 million pounds a month – winds up in family-style restaurants, hotels, hospitals and group homes.
But a more recent study published last year in the Journal of Food Protection found that bladed and marinated steaks were two to four times riskier than those that had not been mechanically tenderized.
For example, some in the beef industry acknowledge that they do not test their mechanically tenderized steaks for E. coli, as they do ground beef, because they believe the risk of illness is lower.
Plants that do test meat must make results available to federal inspectors if asked, but they are not required to alert the government of results that are positive for pathogens.
Don’t eat undercooked meats and when in doubt, throw it out. Or ask the chef how the meat was really prepared. It’s your life and it’s too important to risk it on bad food.