Aug 21, 2014: Health Canada introduced mandatory labelling requirements for Mechanically Tenderized Beef (MTB) to help consumers know when they are buying MTB products and how to cook them. News release
This requirement will apply to all industry sectors selling uncooked MTB to other industry members or consumers (grocery retailers, butcher shops, meat processors, and importers of MTB). This was first announced in the Feb 15, 2014 Canada Gazette.
Health Canada Industry guidance on MTB Labelling
Recent verotoxigenic E. coli illness outbreaks linked to mechanically tenderized raw beef products have shown that these products may represent a higher level of risk as compared to whole, intact beef cuts. As such, Health Canada is in the process of conducting a health risk assessment of raw beef that has been mechanically tenderized. While this review is being done, Health Canada is encouraging Canadians to cook all mechanically tenderized beef products to an internal temperature of at least 71°C (160°F).
Reaching an internal temperature of 71°C would cook a steak or roast to approximately “medium” doneness, although a food thermometer should be used to be sure that the safe internal temperature is reached. It is difficult to determine if meat has been mechanically tenderized just by looking at it. As well, mechanically tenderized meat is not required to be labeled in Canada. If you are not sure that the meat you are considering buying is mechanically tenderized, ask your butcher or retailer. If they do not know, either don’t buy the meat, or be sure you cook the meat to an internal temperature of at least 71°C.
More information from Health Canada on mechanically tenderized beef.