A comparative legal analysis of labelling requirements in the eu and us for restructured and mechanically tenderised beef

Nathan Meijer*, Yannick Weesepoel, Rob de Jonge, Bernd van der Meulen, Leo van Raamsdonk, Saskia van Ruth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Meat is processed to various degrees before it reaches the consumer. The surface of a piece of meat may be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria during processing.Sufficiently heating the product is therefore often required to ensure safe consumption. The focus of this article is on the food safety risk of two types of invasively processed beef products: (i) mechanically tenderised meat and (ii) restructured meat products. If such a product is under cooked because the consumer believes it to be an un-processed whole piece of meat, then these types of products may be unsafe to eat because any potential pathogenic contamination in the product core will not be eliminated. Risk factors of mechanically tenderised and restructured beef have been examined, and the sufficiency of the corresponding legal protection of consumers in the European Union (EU) compared to those in the United States (US) was evaluated. We conclude that deep tissue contamination of invasively processed beef may occur more often and at higher concentrations than estimated, and that consumers are not adequately made aware of this. Although certain microbiological criteria are in place to mitigate the risk from the producer’s side, outbreaks in the US have shown that these measures are insufficient. We therefore recommend that labelling requirements in the EU be changed for this type of meat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Food and Feed Law Review
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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