NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Where's the beef? According to a new consumer report, beef should be on your stove until it's cooked completely.
If you like your meat rare or even medium rare a new consumer report says it could get you sick. Consumer Reports says mechanically tenderized meats, which are cooked at lower temperatures may contain Escherichia coli ( E. coli).
The Department of Agriculture reviewed data dating back to 2008 and found meat that's tenderized by a machine is not checked for E.coli contamination by federal regulators. Big E's Meat Department Manager Kevin Bergeron says they only tenderize cube steaks.
Bergeron says E.coli is present in all raw beef, tenderizing it breaks down fibers; making it easier to eat. "It's in the animal as it comes into us, you just have to make sure you cook it right and that's it. I would cook it an internal temperature to 160 instead of 145, medium rare. I would just make sure it's fully cooked that's all, to kill everything that's in it."
The USDA is pushing for labeling that identifies mechanically tenderized meat and includes safe cooking instructions.
Researchers say those most at risk are people with a compromised immune system, pregnant women, children and the elderly.