P1-130 Prevalence and Conditions of Mechanical Tenderization and Enhancement of Beef at Independent Meat Retailers in North Carolina

Monday, August 1, 2016
America's Center - St. Louis
Nicole Arnold, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Kinsey Porter, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Mary Yavelak, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Sarah Cope, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Renee Boyer, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Introduction: In 2016 new USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services rules require raw or partially cooked beef products that have been mechanically tenderized or enhanced to be labeled as such. The tenderizing process increases the risk of pathogen internalization requiring different risk management steps during cooking. Information about the population and practices of those that are processing meat in this way is needed to create educational interventions targeting small independent meat retailers. 

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of mechanical tenderization and enhancement of beef being prepared at independent meat retailers. For those independent meat retailers that were tenderizing or enhancing their beef products, storage parameters and practices were determined.  

Methods: A list of meat markets was obtained from a local health department. All independent meat markets were visited where an in-person survey was conducted, consisting of questions regarding mechanical tenderization and enhancement and product storage parameters. Additionally the survey was delivered at other independent meat retailers, permitted as restaurants or food stands.  

Results: Of the 29 independent meat markets listed on the Wake County local health department list, 8 were tenderizing beef at the store itself using either Hobarts or mallets. Of the additional meat retailers that were visited in Wake County outside of the original list, 3 entities were tenderizing beef products using either mallets or hand-held equipment. Two retailers were found vacuum tumbling beef products with added marinade. 

Significance: Once the prevalence and parameters of these processes are defined, meat retailer managers and employees can be educated about food safety practices that could potentially reduce the risks surrounding these types of products.