We are very pleased to have the firm of Miller Thomson LLP joining us this fall for a very special session relating to Canadian Agribusiness and Food Law - more specifically with respect to Food Safety and Food Labelling. The Team at Miller Thomson has a wealth of information to share and we are delighted to pass along an article written by Catherine Bate, Partner, on "New Labelling Requirements for Mechanically Tenderized Beef". Our special thanks to the Team at Miller Thomson for sharing this with us!
New Labelling Requirements for Mechanically Tenderized Beef
As of August 21, 2014, mechanically tenderized beef sold in Canada must be labelled to identify that it has been subject to this processing, as well as to provide safe cooking instructions.
When performed at retail or otherwise prior to purchase, the mechanical tenderization of meat is not always obvious to the purchaser. When meat has been mechanically tenderized, bacteria from the surface of the cut may find its way into the center of the meat, increasing the risk of food-borne illness if not cooked properly. The new requirements, then, will inform the consumer about how the meat has been processed, and how to kill off those nasty - and potentially dangerous - bacteria.
The motivation for this new legislative requirement goes back to a 2012 XL Foods E. coli outbreak and recall, where 5 of the 18 incidents were thought to relate to beef tenderized at the retail level. Following a health risk assessment completed in 2013, Health Canada found a five-fold increase in the risk from mechanically tenderized beef, compared to intact beef.
Note that the regulation applies only to uncooked, solid cut beef (including veal), and not to other types of meat, or to ground beef. The regulation will apply to grocery retailers, butcher shops, meat processors and importers, but not to vendors like restaurants or cafeterias. Where the beef is not prepackaged (e.g. the grocery store meat counter), the cut must be identified as mechanically tenderized on in-store
signage, or otherwise prior to the consumer making his or her selection.The packaged beef must be labelled as "mechanically tenderized", and include safe cooking instructions on the principal display panel. The safe cooking instructions must read: "Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 63°C (145°F)" and, for steaks, "Turn steak over at least twice during cooking".
The amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations were published in Canada Gazette II on May 21, 2014. For those looking for further information and instruction, Health Canada's guidance document can be found at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/legislation/guide-ld/mech-tenderized-beef-boeuf-attendris-meca-eng.php#fnb4.
Reprinted with permission by author Catherine Bate, Partner (Article Originally Published: August 7, 2014)
This article was originally published on Miller Thomson LLP's blog, The Food Web: Canadian Agribusiness and Food Law (www.millerthomson.com/en/blog) and it contains a discussion relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of the blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer and use your own good judgement before choosing to act on any information included in the blog. If you choose to rely on the materials, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Hope you enjoyed the article above - and thanks again to the Miller Thomson Team!
All the best!
Bren de Leeuw, Sr. Community Development & Food, Beverage & Bio Sector Initiative Program Manager
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) - email@example.com - 519-372-6009
EMC receives funding under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.