Costco Prime tri-tip: "blade tenderized"
Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:49 PM
Despite a very close inspection of the meat, I could find no evidence at all of tiny blade cuts. So it is possible these cuts came from a carcass that hadn't entirely been blade tenderized, I suppose.
I cooked as usual, well below the 160F internal for killing E. coli and it was wonderful as usual. None of my dinner guests have reported signs of food-poisoning yet :-) But if you're concerned about food-borne illness - particularly if any of your "customers" are high-risk (youngsters, older folks, etc.) - you might want to think about "blade tenderized" meat and cooking temperature.
Plastered Pig BBQ
Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:21 PM
I'm sorry I didn't snap a photo of the label. It was machine printed in the 'notes' on the label just below the weight and price. Basically something like "BLADE TENDERIZED. THE USDA RECOMMENDS COOKING TO 160F."
Plastered Pig BBQ
Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:04 PM
"In a test, Holley spread E. coli O157:H7 that he grew in a lab on a piece of beef. The meat was then run through the machines to see what happened to the bacteria on the surface.
In that instance, Holley found that 10 per cent of the bacteria from the surface was forced into the centre of the meat.
An earlier test using a gel visible under ultraviolet light also found that the material on the surface of the meat doesn’t only contaminate the meat – it can also spread to the needles or blades on a tenderizing machine. Holley said it can be “almost impossible” to properly clean the machines, which can then spread E. coli to other pieces of meat that are tenderized."
They indicate that 2% of meat may be contaminated on the surface. Not a huge percentage, but why take a chance? I have a jaccard at home, but I limit its use to cuts that will be cooked to temps above 160 degrees. Quite frankly, I do not notice much of a difference in tenderness for most cuts. I applaud Costco's disclosure; however, I will shop elsewhere if Costco only offers the mechanically tenderized cuts. I noticed that they do offer larger cryovaced cuts of tritip, etc. without the mechanical tenderizing.
Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:15 PM
I'm wondering if the labeling might not be entirely correct. Individually-packaged meats in the foam trays at Costco probably arrive in large cryovac packs and are trimmed/packaged on-site. It occurs to me that either Costco is blade-tenderizing on-site, or they've included the language on every beef label regardless of whether the meat was previously blade-tenderized. I'll email Costco and ask.
Costco has been emailed; will report back when I hear anything.
Edited by Dana Myers, 06 December 2012 - 08:11 PM.
Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:20 AM
Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:06 AM
So, they ARE needling on-site!! One way to avoid this, I suppose, is get a cryovac pack of tri-tip. A bit more than I'm ready to cook or freeze.
Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:35 AM
We appreciate you taking the time to email Costco Wholesale.
Most of our beef products are machine (blade) tenderized at the warehouse, and would only be labeled as such if that product has been tenderized.
Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.
Costco Wholesale Corporation
I responded with my concern about needless machine tenderization of tender cuts; perhaps all of us that are Costco members should take a minute to do so.
Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:22 PM
FWIW, I used to work at a PriceCostco (old name) in Carlsbad, CA back in '96-'97. I spent the last few months there working in the meat dept. Even then they used to needle the meat in order to tenderize it. It was my duty then to clean the machine at the end of the evening. It appears as though little has changed since then.
Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:39 PM
I can't tell you how many employees come to us from other "food" types of employment and are shocked at how much cleaning is required of their new Costco position. Most of them tell me horror stories about their previous jobs. Nothing I choose to repeat, but I can say that there are several grocery and pizza places that I won't buy from anymore!
Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:00 PM
To be sure - this is not a Costco issue, this is a bigger practice issue. The practice of needling tender cuts is not safe for consumption when cooked correctly.
Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:52 AM
I still cooked 'em both to the usual pinkish/130F-ish finished internal temperature. None of my dinner guests died from E. Coli (yet) but I do think twice about it.
I must say I am *really* surprised that the same litigation-conscious Costco that won't mount a 150MPH-rated tire on a Miata (because that model of Miata had "premium" 168MPH tires mounted at the factory), is happy to sell needled beef.
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