Steak still seems safe

It’s always BBQ season. In Canada I would BBQ in February. In the snow.

ben-newResearchers have quantified inactivation of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cells within knitted/cubed beef steaks following cooking on a nonstick griddle. Both faces of each beef cutlet (ca. 64 g; ca. 8.5 cm length by 10.5 cm width by 0.75 cm height) were surface inoculated (ca. 6.6 log CFU/g) with 250 μl of a rifampin-resistant cocktail composed of single strains from each of eight target serogroups of STEC: O26:H11, O45:H2, O103:H2, O104:H4, O111:H2, O121:H19, O145:NM, and O157:H7.

Next, inoculated steaks were (i) passed once through a mechanical tenderizer and then passed one additional time through the tenderizer perpendicular to the orientation of the first pass (single cubed steak; SCS) or (ii) passed once through a mechanical tenderizer, and then two tenderized cutlets were knitted together by passage concomitantly through the tenderizer two additional times perpendicular to the orientation of the previous pass (double cubed steak; DCS). SCS and DCS were individually cooked for up to 3.5 min per side in 30 ml of extra virgin olive oil heated to 191.5°C (376.7°F) on a hard-anodized aluminum nonstick griddle using a flat-surface electric ceramic hot plate.

Regardless of steak preparation (i.e., single versus double cubed steaks), as expected, the longer the cooking time, the higher the final internal temperature, and the greater the inactivation of STEC cells within cubed steaks. The average final internal temperatures of SCS cooked for up 2.5 min and DCS cooked for up to 3.5 min ranged from 59.8 to 94.7°C and 40.3 to 82.2°C, respectively. Cooking SCS and DCS on an aluminum griddle set at ca. 191.5°C for 0.5 to 2.5 min and 1.0 to 3.5 min per side, respectively, resulted in total reductions in pathogen levels of ca. 1.0 to ≥6.8 log CFU/g.

These data validated that cooking SCS (ca. 0.6 cm thick) or DCS (ca. 1.3 cm thick) on a nonstick aluminum griddle heated at 191.5°C for at least 1.25 and 3.0 min per side, respectively, was sufficient to achieve a 5.0log reduction in the levels of the singlesteak to achieve a 5.0log reduction in the levels of the single strains from each of the eight target STEC serogroups tested.

Thermal inactivation of shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli cells within cubed beef steaks following cooking on a griddle

Journal of Food Protection

Swartz, Richard S.; Luchansky, John B.; Kulas, Megan; Shoyer, Bradley A.; Shane, Laura E.; Strasser, Hannah; Munson, Madison; Porto-Fett, Anna C. S.

Label rules take effect next month for mechanically tenderized beef in Canada

Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized.

Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago.

needle.tenderize.crHealth Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that.

Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions that the meat must reach an internal temperature of 63 C and must be turned at least twice.

Health Canada says the rules are meant to ensure that tenderized meat is labelled from the processor to the consumer, since it’s hard to tell just by looking at it.

But Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, said the cooking requirements are too complicated for most people and he wants mechanical tenderizing banned outright.

“What average Canadian having a beer and a steak is going to measure the temperature of the meat?” Cran asked.

Cran says irradiation of all meats is the best way to ensure meat is safe.

Health Canada received an application to irradiate ground beef, poultry, shrimp and prawns a decade ago, but a spokesman says the public was worried about the process.

Another application from the industry is under consideration.

Mark Klassen, director of technical services with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, supports irradiation but says mechanically tenderized beef is safe as long as it’s cooked properly.

Klassen said the association was involved in the research that supported the new labelling, including the cooking instructions. He says it also tested the labels with a sample of Canadians to make sure they were understandable and practical.

He said the research determined that earlier Health Canada instructions to bring the meat to the same internal temperature as ground beef, 71 C, made the beef tougher. He said 63 C is safe as long as the meat is turned at least twice.

Thermal inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and non-O157 shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli cells in mechanically tenderized veal

Preflattened veal cutlets (ca. 71.5 g, ca. 0.32 cm thick) were surface inoculated with ca. 6.8 log CFU/g of a multistrain cocktail of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ECOH) or a cocktail made of single strains of serogroups O26, O45, O103, O104, O111, O121, and O145 of Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC) cells and then were mechanically tenderized by passing once through a “Sir Steak” tenderizer.

veal.skilletFor each cooking time, in each of at least three trials, three inoculated and tenderized cutlets, with and without breading, were individually cooked in 15 or 30 ml of canola oil for 0.0, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, or 2.25 min per side on an electric skillet set at 191.5°C. The temperatures of the meat and of the skillet were monitored and recorded using a type J thermocouple.

Regardless of the breading or volume of oil used to cook the meat, the longer the cooking times, the higher was the internal temperature of the meat, along with a greater reduction of both ECOH and STEC. The average final internal temperature of the meat at the approximate geometric center ranged from 56.8 to 93.1°C. Microbial reductions of ca. 2.0 to 6.7 log CFU/g and ca. 2.6 to 6.2 log CFU/g were achieved for ECOH and STEC, respectively. Our data also revealed no differences in thermal inactivation of ECOH relative to the volume of oil used to cook nonbreaded cutlets. However, when cooking breaded cutlets, the use of more (30 ml) compared with less (15 ml) cooking oil resulted in greater reductions in pathogen numbers.

To deliver about a 5.0-log reduction of ECOH and STEC, and to achieve the recommended internal temperature of 71.1°C, it was necessary to cook mechanically tenderized veal cutlets for at least 1.5 min per side on a preheated electric skillet set at 191.5°C and containing 15 ml of cooking oil. These data also established that cooking times and temperatures effective for inactivating serotype O157:H7 strains of E. coli in tenderized veal are equally effective against the additional six non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing strains investigated herein.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 7, July 2014, pp. 1052-1240, pp. 1201-1206(6)

Luchansky, John B.1; Porto-Fett, Anna C. S.2; Shoyer, Bradley A.2; Thippareddi, Harshavardhan3; Amaya, Jesus R.4; Lemler, Michael4

Thermometers, needle tenderization, and birthday steak

The first night I went to Amy’s house for dinner in 2005 in Manhattan (Kansas), we both thought the take-out food sounded like crap.

amy.thermometerShe said f**k it, let’s get some steaks and grill ‘em.

I was hooked.

Happy birthday to my best friend.

Dinner tonight, in Amy’s honor, with steak at about 140 F, that I’m told by the butcher is not needle tenderized, but who would know.

Some kangaroo kabobs thrown in with a yoghurt dip.