[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 111 (Monday, June 10, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 34589-34604]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-13669]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 111 / Monday, June 10, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 34589]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 317

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0017]
RIN 0583-AD45


Descriptive Designation for Needle- or Blade-Tenderized 
(Mechanically Tenderized) Beef Products

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to 
require the use of the descriptive designation ``mechanically 
tenderized'' on the labels of raw or partially cooked needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products, including beef products injected with 
marinade or solution, unless such products are destined to be fully 
cooked at an official establishment. Beef products that have been 
needle- or- blade-tenderized are referred to as ``mechanically 
tenderized'' products. FSIS is proposing that the product name for such 
beef products include the descriptive designation ``mechanically 
tenderized'' and an accurate description of the beef component. By 
including this descriptive designation consumers will be informed that 
this product is non-intact. Non-intact products need to be fully cooked 
in order to be rendered free of pathogenic bacteria because bacteria 
may become translocated from the surface of the meat during mechanical 
tenderization. FSIS is also proposing that the print for all words in 
the descriptive designation as the product name appear in the same 
style, color, and size and on a single-color contrasting background. In 
addition, FSIS is proposing to require that labels of raw and partially 
cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products destined for household 
consumers, hotels, restaurants, or similar institutions include 
validated cooking instructions that inform consumers that these 
products need to be cooked to a specified minimum internal temperature, 
and whether they need to be held at that minimum temperature for a 
specified time before consumption, i.e., dwell time or rest time, to 
ensure that they are fully cooked.
    Based on the scientific evidence that indicates that mechanically 
tenderized beef products need to be cooked more thoroughly than intact 
beef products, FSIS is proposing these amendments to the regulations.
    FSIS is also announcing that it has posted on its Web site guidance 
for developing validated cooking instructions for mechanically 
tenderized product. The recommendations in the guidance document are 
based on the results from published research designed to identify 
minimum internal temperature and time combinations sufficient to render 
a product and studies designed to validate cooking instructions.

DATES: Comments must be received by August 9, 2013.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
proposed rule and on the guidance for validated cooking instructions. 
Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the 
ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this 
Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
     Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Docket 
Clerk, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, 
Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
     Hand- or Courier-Delivered Submittals: Deliver to Patriots 
Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2012-0013. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go 
to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8-
164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Edelstein, Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20250-3700; Telephone: (202) 205-0495; Fax: (202) 720-2025.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    Mechanically tenderized beef products are products that have been 
needle- or blade-tenderized, or have been injected with a marinade or a 
solution. The act of mechanically tenderizing a beef product 
potentially pushes pathogens from the exterior of the product into its 
interior. Because mechanically tenderized beef products are non-intact 
products, they need to be more fully cooked than intact beef products 
where potential pathogens are generally limited to the product's 
surface. The time-and-temperature combination needed to destroy 
pathogens on the surface of the intact product is less than that 
necessary to destroy pathogens that may reside in the interior of the 
non-intact product.
    Requiring mechanically tenderized beef products to be labeled with 
a descriptive designation that identifies them as mechanically 
tenderized and accompanied with validated cooking instructions is 
intended to help inform consumers and instruct them that such products 
need to be fully cooked.
    Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) the labels of meat 
products must be truthful and not misleading, and the labels must 
accurately disclose to consumers what they are buying when they 
purchase any meat product. The FMIA gives FSIS broad authority to 
promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out its provisions.
    FSIS is proposing that the labeling of raw or partially cooked 
mechanically tenderized beef products bear a descriptive designation 
that clearly identifies that the product has been mechanically 
tenderized, unless such

[[Page 34590]]

product is destined to be fully cooked in an official establishment.\1\
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    \1\ Any slaughtering, cutting, boning, meat canning, curing, 
smoking, salting, packing, rendering, or similar establishment at 
which inspection is maintained under [FSIS] regulations (9 CFR 
301.2).
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    To ensure that the descriptive designation is readily apparent on 
the label, FSIS is proposing that the print for all words in the 
descriptive designation, as well as the words in the description of the 
product, appear in the same font style, color, and size as the product 
name and on a single-color contrasting background.
    FSIS is also proposing to require that labels of raw and partially 
cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products destined for household 
consumers, hotels, restaurants and similar institutions include cooking 
instructions that have been validated to ensure that a sufficient 
number of potential pathogens throughout the product are destroyed. 
FSIS will provide a Compliance Guide to help establishments develop 
validated cooking instructions.

                                Table 1--Summary of Estimated Costs and Benefits
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                                             Benefits \b\                Costs                 Net Benefits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Estimated Quantified Benefits, Costs, and Net Benefits \a\
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If this proposed rule is finalized     $1,511,000.............  $140,000 \c\...........  $1,371,000
 after the final rule for products     ($121,000 to             .......................  (-$19,000 to
 with added solutions.                  $11,641,000).                                     $11,501,000)
If this proposed rule is finalized     $1,511,000.............  $349,000 \d\...........  $1,162,000
 before the final rule for products    ($121,000 to             .......................  (-$228,000 to
 with added solutions.                  $11,641,000).                                     $11,292,000)
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                                        Non-Quantified Benefits and Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Truthful and     Cost to
                                        accurate labeling.       validate cooking
                                        Increased        instructions.
                                        public awareness of      Loss in
                                        product identities.      producer surplus to
                                        Better market    producers who sell
                                        information to           mechanically
                                        consumers.               tenderized beef.
                                        Increased        Loss in
                                        producer surplus to      consumer surplus to
                                        producers who sell       consumers who start
                                        intact beef or other     cooking their beef to
                                        meats consumers may      a higher temperature,
                                        substitute for           which they prefer less
                                        mechanically-            than cooking rare.
                                        tenderized beef.         Loss in
                                                                 consumer surplus to
                                                                 consumers who might
                                                                 substitute other meats
                                                                 or other cuts of meat,
                                                                 which they prefer less.
                                                                 Costs incurred
                                                                 by food service
                                                                 providers that change
                                                                 their standard
                                                                 operating procedures
                                                                 related to intact and
                                                                 mechanically-
                                                                 tenderized beef.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Annualized over 10 years at a 7 percent discount rate.
\b\ Assumes that on the low end, 15% of consumers and 0% of food service providers will use validated cooking
  instructions and using the lower bound of the credibility interval from Scallan while on the high end, 56% of
  consumers and 100% of food service providers and using the upper bound of the credibility interval from
  Scallan will use validated cooking instructions, with an average estimate of 24% for consumers and 24% for
  food service providers.
\c\ Estimated costs fall to $120,000 and net benefits rise by $20,000 when annualized with a 3 percent discount
  rate.
\d\ Estimated costs fall to $298,000 and net benefits rise by $51,000 when annualized with a 3 percent discount
  rate.
Source: FSIS Policy Analysis Staff.

Background

    The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601-695, at 21 
U.S.C. 607) provides for the approval by the Secretary of Agriculture 
of the labels of meat and meat food products before these products can 
enter commerce. The FMIA also prohibits the distribution in commerce of 
meat or meat food products that are adulterated or misbranded.
    The FMIA provides that a product is misbranded if its labeling is 
false or misleading in any particular, or if it is offered for sale 
under the name of another food (21 U.S.C. 601(n)(1),601(n)(2)). Thus, 
under the FMIA, the labels of meat or meat food products must be 
truthful and not misleading, and the labels must accurately disclose to 
consumers what they are buying when they purchase any meat product. The 
FMIA gives FSIS broad authority to promulgate rules and regulations 
necessary to carry out its provisions (21 U.S.C. 621).
    To prevent meat or meat food products from being misbranded, the 
meat inspection regulations require that the labels of meat products 
contain specific information and that such information be displayed as 
prescribed in the regulations (9 CFR part 317). Under the regulations, 
the principal display panel on the label of a meat product must 
include, among other information, the name of the product. For products 
that purport to be or are represented by a regulatory standard of 
identity, the name of the product on the label must be the name of the 
food specified in the standard. For any other product, the name on the 
label must be ``the common or usual name of the food, if any there 
be.'' If there is no common or usual name, the name on the label must 
be a ``truthful, descriptive designation'' (9 CFR 317.2(c)(1)). In 
addition, the meat inspection regulations require that the descriptive 
designations for products that have no

[[Page 34591]]

common or usual name completely identify the product, including the 
method of preparation, such as salting, smoking, drying, cooking, or 
chopping, unless the product name implies, or the manner of packaging 
shows, that the product was subject to such preparation (9 CFR 
317.2(e)).

Petition Related to Mechanically Tenderized Products

    In 2009, the Safe Food Coalition sent a petition to the Secretary 
of Agriculture to request, among other issues, regulatory action to 
require that the labels of mechanically tenderized beef products 
disclose the fact that the products have been mechanically tenderized. 
The petition stated that, (1) consumers and restaurants do not have 
sufficient information to ensure that these products are cooked safely 
because FSIS does not provide recommended cooking temperatures for 
mechanically tenderized products, (2) the recommended cooking 
temperatures for intact products are not appropriate for non-intact, 
mechanically tenderized products, and (3) a labeling requirement for 
mechanically tenderized products is critical for consumers and retail 
outlets, so that they have the information necessary to safely prepare 
these products.
    In June 2010, the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) petitioned 
FSIS to issue a mandatory labeling provision for mechanically 
tenderized beef that would require labels to specify that a cut has 
been mechanically tenderized. The petition stated that mechanically 
tenderized beef, especially when frozen, could be mistakenly perceived 
by consumers to be a whole, intact muscle cut. The petition asserted 
that without clear labeling, food retailers and consumers do not have 
the information necessary to prepare these products safely. According 
to the petition, if labeling does not indicate that the product is 
mechanically tenderized, consumers are not aware of the potential risk 
created when these products are less than fully cooked. The petition 
stated that mandatory labeling of these products would reduce the 
number of foodborne illnesses in the United States.

Mechanically Tenderized Beef

    Mechanically tenderized beef products are products that have been 
needle- or blade-tenderized, or have only been injected with a marinade 
or solution. FSIS has previously described mechanically tenderized beef 
products in this manner, notably in its Federal Register notice, HACCP 
Plan Reassessment for Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products (May 26, 
2005; 70 FR 30331). FSIS is asking for comment on this definition of 
mechanically tenderized beef products and on whether it should be 
incorporated into the regulations.
    Consumers consider product tenderness to be a key factor when 
purchasing meat products, and the tenderness of a roast or steak is a 
key selling point for the meat industry. The tenderness of a meat 
product depends on the cut of the meat, and there are various 
techniques that companies can use to improve the tenderness of the less 
tender cuts, including mechanical tenderization.
    The mechanical tenderization process involves piercing the product 
with a set of needles or blades, which breaks up muscle fiber and tough 
connective tissue, resulting in increased tenderness.\2\ Research has 
shown that needle or blade mechanical tenderization can improve the 
tenderness of less tender, and typically less expensive, beef cuts.\3\ 
\4\ \5\ \6\ The process makes the less tender cuts of beef more 
marketable to consumers.
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    \2\ Maddock, Robert 2008. Mechanical Tenderization of Beef, 
National Cattleman's Beef Association.
    \3\ Jeremiah, L.E., L.L. Gibson, B. Cunningham 1999. The 
Influence of Mechanical Tenderization on the Palatability of Certain 
Bovine Muscle Food Research International 32: (585-591).
    \4\ Pietrasik, Z., Shand, P.J. 2004. Effect of Blade 
Tenderization and Tumbling Time on the Processing Characteristics 
and Tenderness of Injected Cooked Roast Beef. Meat Science 66: (871-
879).
    \5\ King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L. Shackelford, S.D., Pfeiffer, K.D., 
Nickelson, R., Koolmaraie, M. 2009. Effect of Blade Tenderization, 
Aging Time, and Aging Temperature on tenderness of Beef Lumborum and 
Gluteus Medius. J. Animal Science 87:(2962-2960).
    \6\ Pietrasik, Z., Aslhus, J.L., Gibson, L.L., Shand, P.J. 2010. 
Influence of Blade Tenderization, Moisture Enhancement and Pancretin 
Enzyme Treatment on the Processing Characteristics and Tenderness of 
Beef Semitendinosus Muscle. Meat Science 84: (512-517).
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    An increasing number of establishments use mechanical tenderization 
processes for beef.\7\ The mechanically tenderized products are widely 
available to consumers in the marketplace.
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    \7\ According to FSIS's Checklist and Reassessment of Control 
for E. coli O157:H7 in Beef Operations, 850 of 2323 establishments 
indicated that they had a mechanical tenderizing operation, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Ecoli_Reassessment_&_Checklist.pdf. In 
addition, a 2003 National Cattleman's Beef Association survey found 
that 188 of 200 processors used mechanical tenderization, http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/iafp/0362028x/v71n11/s4.pdf?expires=1300291287&id=61762965&titleid=5200021&accname=NAL-Group3&checksum=57C4A9F3F73D2022F0EEFFA2568826BF.
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    Mechanically tenderized products are referred to as ``non-intact'' 
and have different physical attributes than intact, non-tenderized 
products. A beef product that has been subjected to the mechanical 
tenderization process is more tender than it would have been had it not 
been mechanically tenderized, but it is no longer an intact cut of 
meat. Significantly, products that have been needle- or blade-
tenderized are typically indistinguishable in appearance from whole, 
intact products. Furthermore, under the current regulatory approach, 
intact and mechanically tenderized beef products are permitted to have 
the same product name, and products that have been mechanically 
tenderized need not disclose this fact in their labeling. Thus, the 
labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products is not required to 
reveal a significant material fact about the nature of the product. 
Without information about this fact on the product labeling, consumers 
and industry may be purchasing these products without knowing that they 
have been needle- or blade-tenderized.
    Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has 
received reports of six outbreaks attributable to needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products prepared in restaurants and consumers' homes. 
The outbreaks included steaks that were mechanically tenderized with 
added solutions and one outbreak involving mechanically tenderized 
steaks in which no information was available concerning whether the 
product contained added solutions. Among these outbreaks, there were a 
total of 176 Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 cases that resulted in 
32 hospitalizations and 4 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).\8\
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    \8\ Compilation of USDA-FSIS Data, 2010.

[[Page 34592]]



             Table 2--Outbreaks Linked to Tenderized/Marinated Steaks Originating in the United States (Compilation of FSIS Generated Data)
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                                                                Case patients/ Epi.   Hospitalizations/
                Year                          Product                  link                 Deaths                      FSIS Recall number
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2009................................  Blade tenderized        25/17-steak...........         10/1\a\     067-2009 (USDA-FSIS, 2009).
                                       steaks, vacuum
                                       tumbled with marinade.
April-May 2007......................  Needle injected and     8/8...................             6/0     019-2007 (USDA-FSIS, 2007).
                                       marinated steaks.
May-Aug. 2007.......................  Needle tenderized,      124/124...............             8/0     No Recall.\b\ \c\
                                       seasoned tri-tip beef.
July-Aug. 2004......................  Blade tenderized        4/4...................             1/0     033-2004 (USDA-FSIS, 2004).
                                       steaks exposed to
                                       marinade in vacuum
                                       tumbler.
May-June 2003 (Laine et al., 2005)..  Bacon wrapped steaks,   13/13.................             7/0     028-2003 (USDA-FSIS, 2003).
                                       mechanically
                                       tenderized, injected
                                       flavoring.
Aug. 2000...........................  Needle tenderized.....  2/2...................             0/0     No Recall.\d\ \e\
                                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...........................  ......................  176/168...............            32/1     ...............................................
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a. Patient who died did not eat steak.
b. Illnesses were all associated with product served through the restaurant/food-to-go operation that had some sanitary violations.
c. Notes indicate that a seasoning/marinade was used in the needling process.
d. Unknown whether solution was added.
e. FSIS was not involved in the original investigation.

    Five of the six outbreaks listed in Table 2 had solutions added to 
the tenderized beef. These five outbreaks accounted for 174 of the 176 
illnesses. The remaining two illnesses occurred in an outbreak in which 
steak was mechanically tenderized, but it was not known if solution was 
added.
    Follow up investigations suggested that failure to fully cook a 
mechanically tenderized raw or partially cooked beef product was likely 
a significant contributing factor in all of these outbreaks. In many 
cases, patients associated with outbreaks reported preparing or 
ordering steaks as ``rare'' or ``medium-rare.'' \9\ \10\ Published 
research suggests that pathogens can be translocated from the surface 
of mechanically tenderized beef products to the interior during 
processing because of the piercing of the beef by the needle or 
blade.\11\ The potential for translocation of pathogens to the interior 
of the product suggests that the interior of mechanically tenderized 
beef would need to be more fully cooked than a piece of intact beef 
with a similar amount of pathogens only on the surface.\12\
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    \9\ Culpepper, W., Ihry, T., Medus, C., Ingram, A., Von Stein, 
D., Stroika, S., Hyytia-Trees, E., Seys, S., Sotir, M.J. 2010. 
Multi-state outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections 
associated with consumption of mechanically-tenderized steaks in 
restaurants--United States, 2009. Presented at International 
Association for Food Protection; August 1-4, 2010; Anaheim, CA.
    \10\ Haubert, N., Cronquist, A., Parachini, S., Lawrence, J., 
Woo-Ming, A., Volkman, T., Moyer, S., Watkins, A. 2006. Outbreak of 
Escherichia coli O157:H7 Associated with Consuming Needle Tenderized 
Undercooked Steak from a Restaurant Chain--Denver Area, Colorado, 
2004. Presented at International Conference of Emerging Infectious 
Diseases; March 19-22, 2006; Atlanta, GA.
    \11\ Luchansky, JB, Phebus RK, Thippareddi H, Call JE 2008. 
Translocation of surface-inoculated Escherichia coli 0157:H7 into 
beef subprimals following blade tenderization. J. Food Prot. 2008 
Nov.; 71(11):2190-7.
    \12\ Sporing, Sarah B. 1999. Escherichia coli O157:H7 Risk 
Assessment for Production and Cooking of Blade Tenderized Beef 
Steak. Thesis. Kansas State University.
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    This research led FSIS to recommend on its Web site that 
mechanically tenderized beef products should be cooked to 145 [deg]F 
with a three-minute dwell time because it will result in a 5.0-log 
reduction of Salmonella throughout the product.\13\ \14\ Salmonella is 
an indicator for lethality because it is more heat-resistant than other 
pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7. Therefore, if a 5.0-log reduction of 
Salmonella is achieved, at least a 5-log reduction of E. coli O157:H7 
should be achieved as well \15\.
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    \13\ http://askfsis.custhelp.com/ci/fattach/get/4648/.
    \14\ Goodfellow, S. J. and Brown. W. L. 1978. Fate of Salmonella 
Inoculated into Beef for Cooking J. of Food Protect. 41: (598-605).
    \15\ Line, J.E. Fain, A.R. Moran, A.B, Martin, L.M., Lechowch, 
R.V., Carosella, J.M., and Brown, W.L. 1991. Lethality of heat to 
Escherichia coli O157:H7: D-value and Z-value determinations in 
ground beef J Food Protect. 54:(762-766).
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    Consumers often prefer to eat their steaks ``rare'' or ``medium 
rare.'' Generally, intact cuts of muscle such as steaks should be free 
of pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and other Shiga-toxin 
producing E. coli (STEC) organisms if cooked to these desired levels of 
doneness because contamination with pathogenic bacteria, if present, 
would likely only occur on the surface of the product. The National 
Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (1997) stated 
that ``due to the low probability of pathogenic organisms being present 
in or migrating from the external surface to the interior of beef 
muscle, cuts of intact muscle (steaks) should be safe if the external 
surfaces are exposed to temperatures sufficient to effect a cooked 
color change''.\16\ To date, no outbreaks or sporadic illnesses from 
consuming intact product have been reported to CDC.\17\
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    \16\ National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for 
Foods (NACMCF). 1997. Recommendations for Appropriate Cooking 
Temperatures for Intact Beef Steaks & Cooked Beef Patties for the 
Control of Vegetative Enteric Pathogens. U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, DC.
    \17\ National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for 
Foods (NACMCF). 1997. Recommendations for Appropriate Cooking 
Temperatures for Intact Beef Steaks & Cooked Beef Patties for the 
Control of Vegetative Enteric Pathogens. U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, DC.
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Descriptive Designation

    FSIS has carefully considered the available information on 
mechanically tenderized beef, including the petitions submitted by the 
Safe Food Coalition and by CFP, and has concluded that without specific 
labeling, raw or partially cooked mechanically tenderized beef products 
could be mistakenly perceived by consumers to be whole, intact muscle 
cuts. The fact that a cut of beef has been needle- or blade-tenderized 
is a characterizing feature of the product and, as such, a material 
fact that is likely to affect consumers' purchase decisions and that 
should affect their preparation of the product. The literature suggests 
that many consumers are aware of and a portion of these read the safe 
handling instructions labels, and reported changing their meat 
preparation methods because of the labels.18 19 20 21 22 23 
Because of the

[[Page 34593]]

likelihood that illness rates would be reduced if more specific 
labeling were required, FSIS proposes that the labeling of raw or 
partially cooked mechanically tenderized beef products bear a 
descriptive designation that clearly identifies the product has been 
mechanically tenderized unless such product is destined to be fully 
cooked in an official establishment. The proposed descriptive 
designation will provide household consumers, official establishments, 
restaurants, and retail stores with the information they need to 
identify whether a cut of beef is an intact, non-tenderized product, or 
whether it is a non-intact, mechanically tenderized product. Should 
this rule become final, FSIS will conduct a public education campaign 
to explain the significance of the term ``mechanically tenderized'' to 
consumers.
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    \18\ Yang et al (1999) show that 15% of consumers changed their 
behavior based on reading safe handling instruction labels. 
(Evaluation of Safe Food-Handling Instructions on Raw Meat and 
Poultry Products. J of Food Protect. 63: (1321-1325.)
    \19\ Bruhn (1997) shows that 17% of consumers changed their 
behavior based on reading safe handling instructions. Consumer 
Concerns Motivating to Action, Emerging Infectious Diseases. 3(4): 
511-515.
    \20\ Adul-Nyako et al (2003) show a significant positive 
influence of labels on safe handling practices. Safe Handling Labels 
and Consumer Behavior in the Southern U.S.
    \21\ Cates, Sheryl C., Cignetti, Connie, Kosa, Katherine M. 
March 22, 2002. RTI: Consumer Research on Food Safety Labeling 
Features for the Development of Responsive Labeling Policy.
    \22\ Cates, Sheryl C., Cignetti, Connie, Kosa, Katherine M. 
March 22, 2002. RTI: Consumer Research on Food Safety Labeling 
Features for the Development of Responsive Labeling Policy.
    \23\ Cates, Sheryl C., Carter-Young, Heather L., Gledhill, Erica 
C. April 25, 2001. RTI: Consumer Perceptions of Not-Ready-to-Eat 
Meat and Poultry Labeling Terminology.
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    FSIS is proposing that if raw or partially cooked mechanically 
tenderized beef product is destined to be fully cooked at an official 
establishment, the descriptive designation would not be required on the 
product label. Therefore, if one establishment produces raw or 
partially cooked product and sends it to a second establishment for 
cooking, the first establishment would not be required to include the 
descriptive designation on the product label.
    The descriptive designation that FSIS is proposing would only apply 
to raw or partially cooked beef products that have been needle 
tenderized or blade tenderized, including beef products injected with 
marinade or solution. Other tenderization methods such as pounding and 
cubing change the appearance of the product, putting consumers on 
notice that the product is not intact. Additionally, a majority of 
establishments already identify products that have been cubed on the 
label.
    FSIS is proposing to require that the label of needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products contain the designated description 
``mechanically tenderized'' because this term accurately and truthfully 
describes the nature of the product. Additionally, this term clearly 
and completely identifies the preparation process that the product 
underwent. FSIS's goal is to choose a term that will not affect 
consumers' perception of the quality, or cost, of the product. Rather, 
FSIS sought to simply differentiate mechanically tenderized beef 
products from non-tenderized, intact beef products. The term 
``mechanically tenderized'' is non-technical and likely will be 
understood by consumers, restaurants, retail stores, and official 
establishments, although FSIS is taking comment on this assumption.
    To ensure that the descriptive designation is readily apparent on 
the label, FSIS is proposing that the print for all words in the 
descriptive designation, as well as the words in the description of the 
product, appear in the same font style, color, and size as the product 
name and on a single-color contrasting background.
    At this time, FSIS is not proposing similar labeling requirements 
for mechanically tenderized poultry products or for other mechanically 
tenderized meat products, such as pork. While FSIS has the checklist 
data discussed above for beef products, FSIS does not have similar data 
for other products necessary to assess production practices for 
mechanically tenderized products. There have been no known outbreaks 
for mechanically tenderized poultry or non-beef products.
    FSIS is not proposing to require the descriptive designation on 
needle- or blade-tenderized beef products that are fully cooked in an 
official establishment because such products do not pose the same 
pathogen hazard as the raw or partially cooked products. Further, 
consumers can recognize that a product has been cooked. FSIS requests 
comment on whether it should require fully cooked needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products to have the descriptive designation on their 
labels.

Validated Cooking Instructions for Raw and Partially Cooked 
Mechanically Tenderized Products

    FSIS is proposing to amend the regulations to require validated 
cooking instructions on the labels of mechanically tenderized beef 
products. Under current regulations, to prevent raw and partially 
cooked meat products from being misbranded, the labels of all meat 
products, including those that have been mechanically tenderized, are 
required to include safe handling instructions as prescribed in 9 CFR 
317.2(l). These regulations require that the labels of raw and 
partially cooked meat that are not intended for further processing at 
an official establishment include the statement: ``This product was 
prepared from inspected and passed meat and/or poultry. Some food 
product may contain bacteria that could cause illness if the product is 
mishandled or cooked improperly. For your protection, follow these safe 
handling instructions'' (9 CFR 317.2(l)(2)). One of the instructions 
required under the regulations is to ``cook thoroughly'' (9 CFR 
317.2(l)(3)(iii)).
    Although the safe handling instructions in the regulations include 
``cook thoroughly'' in the labeling of raw and partially cooked meat 
and poultry products, the regulations do not require that these 
instructions specify the dwell time or internal temperature parameters 
required to ensure that the product is fully cooked. Because 
mechanically tenderized products have the same appearance as intact 
products, household consumers, hotels, restaurants, and similar 
institutions may incorrectly assume that mechanically tenderized 
products may be prepared similarly to intact products (i.e., that it is 
ok to cook the product ``rare'' or ``medium-rare''), even if the 
product label shows that the product is mechanically tenderized. This 
increases the likelihood that household consumers, hotels, restaurants, 
and similar institutions will undercook a mechanically tenderized 
product.
    Despite the safe handling instructions to ``cook thoroughly,'' 
recent outbreak data suggest that for needle- or blade-tenderized raw 
beef products, consumers, restaurants, and retail stores do not always 
fully cook these products using a temperature-and-time combination 
sufficient to destroy harmful bacteria, such as Escherichia coli 
O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7), in the product. CDC and other governmental 
investigators have found that failure to fully cook a mechanically 
tenderized raw or partially cooked beef product was likely a 
significant contributing factor in the outbreaks.24 25 In 
many

[[Page 34594]]

cases, patients reported preparing or ordering steaks as ``rare'' or 
``medium rare.''
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    \24\ Swanson, L. E., Scheftel, J.M., Boxrud, D.J., Vought, K.J., 
Danila, R.N., Elfering, K.M., and Smith, K.E. 2005. Outbreak of 
Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with nonintact blade-
tenderized frozen steaks sold by door-to-door vendors. J. Food Prot 
68:(1198-1202).
    \25\ Culpepper W, Ihry T, Medus C, Ingram A, Von Stein D, 
Stroika S, Hyytia-Trees E, Seys S, Sotir MJ. 2010. Multi-state 
outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with 
consumption of mechanically-tenderized steaks in restaurants--United 
States, 2009. Presented at International Association for Food 
Protection; August 1-4, 2010; Anaheim, CA.
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    Because restaurants may not know that products are mechanically 
tenderized, they may prepare for their customers mechanically 
tenderized beef products that are ``rare'' or ``medium-rare.'' Indeed, 
their customers may ask them to do so. Research on the sensory and 
cooking characteristics of various beef cuts suggests that the 
palatability of beef cuts decreases as the internal endpoint 
temperature increases. Other research has shown that consumers tend to 
prefer beef products that are cooked to a lower degree of doneness than 
that needed to reach the necessary internal temperature for a 
mechanically tenderized product, which needs to be fully cooked 
throughout its interior.\26\ In some studies, consumers have given 
highest ratings to such underdone beef products.27 28 29 
Consumers thus may order steaks that are cooked to a lesser degree of 
doneness than that necessary to fully cook them and restaurateurs may 
consequently serve the less-done products. FSIS requests comments on 
how the proposed labeling changes are likely to impact restaurants and 
other food service operations.
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    \26\ Schmidt, T.B., Keene, M.P, and Lorenzen, C.L. 2002. 
Improving Consumer Satisfaction of Beef Through the use of 
Thermometers and Consumer Education by Wait Staff. J. Food Sci. 67: 
(3190-3193).
    \27\ Lorenzen, C.L., T.R. Neely, R.K. Miller, J.D. Tatum, J.W. 
Wise, J.F. Taylor, M.J. Buyck, J.O. Reagan, and J.W. Savell. 1999. 
Beef Customer Satisfaction: Cooking Methods and Degree of Doneness 
Effects on the Top Loin Steaks. J. Animal Science 77:637-644.
    \28\ Savell, J.W., Lorenzen, C.L., Neely, T.R., Miller, R.K., 
Tatum, J.D., Wise, J.W., Taylor, J.F., Buyck, M.J., Reagan, J.O. 
1999. Beef Customer Satisfaction: Cooking Methods and Degree of 
Doneness Effects on the Top Sirloin Steaks. J. Animal Science 
77:645-652.
    \29\ Neely, T.E., Lorenzen,C.L., Miller,R.K., Tatum,J.D., Wise, 
J.W.,Taylor, J.F., Buyck,M.J., and Savell, J.W.. 1999. J. Animal 
Science 77:653-660. Beef Customer Satisfaction: Cooking Method and 
Degree of Doneness Effects on the Top Round Steak.
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    On the basis of these studies, scientific evidence referred to 
earlier in this document, and other studies 30 31 32 that 
indicate that mechanically tenderized beef products need to be cooked 
more thoroughly than intact beef products, FSIS is making an additional 
proposal. Thus, in addition to a descriptive designation that 
identifies that needle- or blade-tenderized beef products have been 
mechanically tenderized, FSIS is proposing to require that labels of 
raw and partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products 
destined for household consumers, hotels, restaurants and similar 
institutions include cooking instructions that have been validated to 
ensure that potential pathogens throughout the product are destroyed.
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    \30\ Luchansky, J.B., Porto-Fett, A.C.S., Shoyer, B.A., Call, 
J.E., Schlosser, W., Shaw, W., Bauer, N., Latimer, H. 2012. Fate of 
Shiga toxin-Producing O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 Escherichia coli Cells 
within Blade-Tenderized Beef Steaks after Cooking on a Commercial 
Open-Flame Gas Grill. J. of Food Protect 75: (62-70).
    \31\ Johnston, R.W., M.E. Harris, A.B. Moran. 1978. The Effect 
of Mechanically Tenderization on Beef Rounds Inoculated with 
Salmonella. J. Food Safety 1:201-209.
    \32\ Johnston, R.W., M.E. Harris, A.B. Moran. 1978. The Effect 
of Mechanically Tenderization on Beef Rounds Inoculated with 
Salmonella. J. Food Safety 1:201-209.
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    Under this proposal, needle- or blade-tenderized beef products that 
are destined to be fully cooked at an official establishment would not 
be required to include validated cooking instructions on product 
labels. Official establishments are required to follow regulatory 
performance standards to ensure that ready-to-eat products receive a 
full lethality treatment (for cooked beef, roast beef, and cooked 
corned beef products, see 9 CFR 318.17) and use controls to prevent 
post-lethality contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (9 CFR 430.4).
    FSIS is proposing to require that the validated cooking 
instructions include, at a minimum: (1) the method of cooking; (2) a 
minimum internal temperature validated to ensure that potential 
pathogens are destroyed throughout the product; (3) whether the product 
needs to be held for a specified time at that temperature or higher 
before consumption; and (4) instruction that the internal temperature 
should be measured by the use of a thermometer. The Agency is proposing 
to require that the cooking instruction statement include the cooking 
method because consumers need explicit information about how to cook a 
product in order to ensure that it is safe for consumption. The cooking 
instructions included on the label should be practical and likely to be 
followed by consumers. FSIS is proposing that cooking instructions must 
be validated to ensure that potential pathogens are destroyed 
throughout the product as determined by the specified minimum internal 
temperature and dwell time for the product before consumption.
    Consistent with the regulation on HACCP validation (9 CFR 417.4), 
to validate the cooking instructions, should this rule become final, 
the establishment would be required to obtain scientific or technical 
support for the judgments made in designing the cooking instructions, 
and in-plant data to demonstrate that it is, in fact, achieving the 
critical operational parameters documented in the scientific or 
technical support. HACCP does not require establishments that produce 
mechanically tenderized product to have validated cooking instructions. 
But just as establishments have to validate their HACCP plans' adequacy 
in controlling the food safety hazards identified during the hazard 
analysis, so too, under this proposed rule, establishments that produce 
mechanically tenderized beef products will have to validate their 
cooking instructions. The scientific support would need to demonstrate 
that: (1) The cooking instructions provided can repeatedly achieve the 
desired minimum internal temperature and, if applicable, rest time and 
(2) the minimum internal time and, if applicable, rest time achieved by 
the instructions will ensure that the product is fully cooked to 
destroy potential pathogens throughout the product. The in-plant data 
would need to demonstrate that the establishment is, in fact, achieving 
the critical operational parameters documented in the scientific or 
technical support. For additional information on validation see the 
following Federal Register notice on HACCP Systems Validation (77 FR 
27135; May 10, 2012) available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Frame/FrameRedirect.asp?main=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2009-0019.htm.

Guidance on Validated Cooking Instructions

    The Agency has posted on its Significant Guidance Documents Web 
page (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Significant_Guidance/index.asp) 
guidance on validated cooking instructions for mechanically tenderized 
product. This guidance, drawing heavily on the findings of the two 
recent ARS studies (Luchansky 2011 and 2012) represents current FSIS 
thinking; however, FSIS requests comment on it and intends to update it 
as necessary before this rule becomes final. In addition to requesting 
comments on the guidance document, FSIS specifically requests 
additional scientifically valid data on cooking instructions developed 
for various mechanically tenderized beef products that have been found 
to consistently meet an endpoint temperature and rest time sufficient 
to ensure the product is fully cooked.

[[Page 34595]]

    Should this rule become final, establishments could collect their 
own scientific data to support the cooking instruction, use a study 
from an outside source, or use the guidance provided by FSIS. The 
guidance document provided by FSIS includes a summary of cooking 
instructions (e.g., place product in an oven heated to X degrees F for 
X minutes to achieve the desired endpoint temperature of X degrees F 
for X minutes) drawn from the peer reviewed literature to achieve 
endpoint temperatures sufficient to ensure the product is fully cooked 
and the risk of contamination with a pathogen is sufficiently reduced. 
The format and wording of the instructions are based on best practices 
seen by the FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Division (LPDD). The 
critical operational parameters from each study (e.g., the cut of meat, 
method of tenderization, product thickness, and cooking method) are 
included in the summary so that establishments can select cooking 
instructions that will be applicable to their product. Establishments 
could utilize these cooking instructions on the labels of their 
products, without needing to conduct any additional experiments or 
provide any further scientific support, provided that the actual 
product being produced and labeled is similar to the product the 
instructions were developed for.
    In the event that establishments are unable to use the specific 
examples in the guidance (e.g., because the product is of a different 
thickness or is to be cooked using a different method than was 
previously studied), the guidance document also contains instructions 
on how to develop such support. The protocol provided is based on the 
experimental design employed in the recent ARS studies. Specifically, 
the document addresses the factors that should be considered when 
designing a validation study (e.g., number of replicates, factors that 
affect heat transfer, testing methodology, etc.).

Affected Industry

    The proposed new descriptive designation requirement would apply to 
all raw or partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products 
going to retail stores, restaurants, hotels, or similar institutions or 
to other official establishments for further processing other than 
cooking. The proposed requirements for validated cooking instructions 
would apply to raw or partially cooked mechanically tenderized beef 
products destined for household consumers, hotels, restaurants, or 
similar institutions. If a second establishment repackages the product 
for household consumers, hotels, restaurants or similar institutions, 
the second establishment would be responsible for applying the 
validated cooking instructions to the product label. If retail stores 
repackage the product, they would be required to include the 
descriptive designation and validated cooking instructions from the 
official establishment on the retail label.
    If this proposal is adopted as a final rule, establishments or 
retail stores would be permitted to add the required information to 
existing label designs, or they could apply a separate sticker with the 
required information to existing labels. FSIS would generically approve 
the modifications made to the labels for needle- or blade-tenderized 
beef products from official establishments based on the provisions for 
generic approval in 9 CFR 317.5(a)(1).
    If this proposal is finalized, raw or partially cooked needle- or 
blade-tenderized beef products would have descriptive designations that 
are different from those of whole, intact products. Once implemented, 
raw or partially cooked beef products subject to this rule whose labels 
do not include the descriptive designation ``mechanically tenderized,'' 
and such products destined for household consumers, hotels, 
restaurants, or similar institutions whose labels do not include 
validated cooking instructions, would be misbranded because the product 
labels would be false or misleading, because the products would be 
offered for sale under the name of another food, and because the 
product labels would fail to bear the required handling information 
necessary to maintain the products' wholesome condition (21 U.S.C. 
601(n)(1), 601(n)(2), and 601(n)(12)).
    Of the 555 official establishments that produce mechanically 
tenderized beef products that could be affected by this proposed rule, 
542 are small or very small according to the FSIS HACCP definition. 
There are about 251 very small establishments (with fewer than 10 
employees) and 291 small establishments (with more than 10 but less 
than 500 employees). Therefore, a total of 542 small and very small 
establishments could possibly be affected by this rule. The FSIS HACCP 
definition assigns a size based on the total number of employees in 
each official establishment. The Small Business Administration 
definition of a small business applies to a firm's parent company and 
all affiliates as a single entity. These small and very small 
manufacturers, like the large manufacturers, would incur the costs 
associated with modifying product labels to add on the labels 
``mechanically tenderized'' and validated cooking instructions needed 
to ensure adequate pathogen destruction.

Descriptive Designations on Intact Product

    Note that intact beef products may bear a descriptive designation 
of ``intact,'' consistent with 9 CFR 317.2(e). However, such a 
descriptive designation is not required. If producers want to use such 
a descriptive designation on labels of intact product to distinguish it 
from non-intact product, FSIS would allow the designation and would not 
consider it a special statement requiring label approval by the Agency. 
Rather, FSIS would generically approve the labels with the statement 
based on the provisions for generic approval in 9 CFR 317.5(a)(1).

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. Under this proposed rule: (1) All State and local 
laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be 
preempted, (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and 
(3) no retroactive proceedings will be required before parties may file 
suit in court challenging this rule.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. This proposed rule has been designated an ``significant 
regulatory action'' although not economically significant, under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Baseline: The Final Report of the Expert Elicitation on the Market 
Shares for Raw Meat and Poultry Products Containing Added Solutions and 
Mechanically Tenderized Raw Meat and Poultry Product, February 2012 
(February 2012 Report),\33\ estimates that

[[Page 34596]]

there are 555 official establishments that produce blade, needle, and 
both blade and needle mechanically tenderized beef products.\34\ In 
terms of assigned HACCP processing size, the 555 establishments are 
comprised of 251 very small, 291 small, and 13 large establishments. 
Total U.S. beef production was 24.3 billion pounds in 2010.\35\ The 
February 2012 Report estimates that the proportion of beef products 
that is mechanically tenderized is about 10.5 percent of total beef 
products sold, or 2.6 billion pounds. Of these products, an estimated 
318 million pounds were brand name packaged by the establishment for 
retail sales; 640 million pounds private label packaged by the 
establishment for retail sales; 1,594 million pounds were packaged by 
the establishment for food service, and 479 million pounds were 
packaged in retail operations.\36\
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    \33\ Muth, Mary K., Ball, Melanie, and Coglaiti, Michaela Cimini 
February 2012.: RTI International Final Report--Expert Elicitation 
on the Market Shares for Raw Meat and Poultry Products Containing 
Added Solutions and Mechanically Tenderized Raw Meat and Poultry 
Products, Table 3-11 on p. 3-17.
    \34\ The February 2012 report estimates that 490 establishments 
produce products that are both mechanically tenderized and 
containing added solutions.
    \35\ Based on slaughter volumes multiplied by average carcass 
weights in the Expert Elicitation on the Market Shares for Raw Meat 
and Poultry Products Containing Added Solutions and Mechanically 
Tenderized Meat and Poultry Products, RTI International, February 
2012.
    \36\ Ibid. Table 3-8 Proportions of Mechanically Tenderized-only 
Beef Product pounds by Packaging and labeling Type on p. 3-13, and 
Table 3-14 Estimated Pounds of Mechanically Tenderized-only Beef 
Products by Packaging and Labeling Type (Millions), p. 3-18.
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    Retail establishments would be involved in repackaging products to 
be sold at retail. FSIS has not estimated the number of retail 
establishments that would be involved with repackaging raw or partially 
cooked mechanically tenderized beef products or the number of labels 
they would require to be in compliance with this rule.\37\ FSIS expects 
that very few retail facilities are producing mechanically tenderized 
beef. FSIS requests data on the number and size distribution of retail 
establishments that could be possibly affected by this proposed rule.
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    \37\ FSIS believes that the number of retailers involved in 
repackaging mechanically tenderized beef is small and declining, 
with large retailers and warehouse clubs moving toward ordering 
case-ready packaged beef products.
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    The proposed new descriptive designation requirement would apply to 
all raw or partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products 
going to retail stores, restaurants, hotels, or similar institutions, 
or other official establishments for further processing, unless such 
product is destined to be fully cooked at an official establishment. 
The proposed requirements for validated cooking instructions would 
apply to raw or partially cooked mechanically tenderized products 
destined for household consumers, hotels, restaurants, or similar 
institutions. If a second establishment repackages the product for 
household consumers, hotels, restaurants, or similar institutions, the 
second establishment would also be responsible for applying the 
validated cooking instructions to the product label. If retail stores 
repackage the product, they would have to include the descriptive 
designation and validated cooking instructions from the official 
establishment on the retail label.
    This rule would affect foreign establishments that manufacture and 
export to the United States raw or partially cooked beef products that 
are mechanically tenderized, because foreign establishments that 
manufacture and export these products to the United States will be 
required to follow these same labeling requirements. FSIS requests 
information on the number of foreign establishments that would be 
affected if this proposed rule is finalized.

Expected Cost of the Proposed Rule

    The proposed rule would require all official establishments that 
produce raw mechanically tenderized beef products to modify their 
product labels to include the term ``mechanically tenderized'' as part 
of the products' descriptive name and to add validated cooking 
instructions to the labels of all raw and partially cooked needle- or 
blade-tenderized beef products destined for household consumers, 
hotels, restaurants, or similar institutions. To incorporate this 
information, establishments may add the required information to 
existing label designs with minor changes. As discussed below, 
establishments' and stores' costs likely would be mitigated because the 
uniform compliance date may result in a number of labeling rules going 
into effect at the same time. Therefore, the establishments will have 
additional time to comply based on the delayed effective date provided 
by the uniform compliance labeling rule and will be able to limit label 
supplies based on the day that the labels will need to be modified. In 
addition, the uniform compliance date allows establishments time to use 
existing labels and will, therefore, result in minimal loss of 
inventory of labels.

Cost Analysis

    On the basis of data provided by the FSIS Labeling and Program 
Delivery Staff, the Agency estimates that there are approximately 
270,000 meat and poultry labels in the marketplace.\38\ Of those, FSIS 
estimates that 50 percent of the total labels, or 135,000, are unique 
labels for raw meat and poultry products labeled at official 
establishments. This estimate of 135,000 may be an overestimate because 
it assumes an exclusive label for each variation of a product. Of the 
135,000 labels, FSIS assumes that 23.8 percent,\39\ or 32,130 labels, 
are for beef products. Using the 10.5-percent estimate for the share of 
beef products that are mechanically tenderized, and the 32,130 
estimated number of beef labels, the estimated number of labels for 
mechanically tenderized beef products is 3,374. This proposed rule 
would require these products to add ``mechanically tenderized'' to 
their labels.
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    \38\ In the proposed rule for Prior Label Approval System: 
Generic Label Approval (Docket FSIS-2005-0016), FSIS estimated that 
there were approximately 266,061 approved meat and poultry product 
labels in the marketplace. For the purpose of this analysis, FSIS 
chose to round the number of approved meat and poultry product 
labels in the marketplace to 270,000.
    \39\ From Muth, Mary K., Ball, Mary K., and Coglaiti, Michaela 
Cimini February 2012.: RTI International Final Report--Expert 
Elicitation on the Market Shares for Raw Meat and Poultry Products 
Containing Added Solutions and Mechanically Tenderized Raw Meat and 
Poultry Products, p. 3-8.
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    FSIS is developing a final rule that would require additional 
labeling of products with added solutions. If this proposed rule 
becomes final before the added solutions rule is in effect, then an 
additional 15.8 percent of all beef products, or 5,077 labels, would 
require the ``mechanically tenderized'' designation on their labels. 
(See proposed rule ``Common or Usual Name Requirements for Meat and 
Poultry Products with Added Solutions'' (76 FR 44855.) If both this 
rule on mechanically tenderized products and products with added 
solutions are in effect, establishments are likely to make all labeling 
changes at the same time.
    The number of labels was not tracked by the FSIS Labeling 
Information System Database because many mechanically tenderized beef 
products are single ingredient products, and establishments may be 
eligible for generic approval of these labels. FSIS does not have data 
on partially cooked mechanically tenderized beef products but expects 
that the amount of these products is small and therefore has not 
included them in the cost calculations.

[[Page 34597]]

FSIS requests comments on the number of labels approved by 
establishments for raw and partially cooked mechanically tenderized 
beef products.
    This cost analysis uses the mid-point label design modification 
costs for a minor coordinated label change, as provided in a March 2011 
FDA report.\40\ This report defines a minor change as one in which only 
one color is affected and the label does not need to be redesigned. We 
conclude that the labeling change that would be required by this 
proposed rule is a minor change because the words ``mechanically 
tenderized'' need to be added to the label, which is comparable to the 
addition of an ingredient to the ingredient list and the addition of 
validated cooking instructions is comparable to minimal changes to a 
facts panel (e.g. nutrition facts, supplement facts, or drug facts). 
For comparison purposes, in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration 
estimated that the required labeling costs for its final rule \41\ on 
the labeling of bronchodilators were deemed minor. The FDA required 
revisions to the ``Indications,'' ``Warnings,'' and ``Directions'' 
sections of the Drug Fact label. Using the RTI labeling model described 
in the March 2011 report, the FDA concluded that the revisions would be 
deemed minor. FSIS assumes that the addition of validated cooking 
instruction is similar to the aforementioned changes to the drug fact 
panel, and is therefore deemed minor. FSIS requests comments on these 
cost estimates.
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    \40\ Model to Estimate Costs of Using Labeling as a Risk 
Reduction Strategy for Consumer Products Regulated by the Food and 
Drug Administration, FDA, March 2011. (Contract No. GS-10F-0097L, 
Task Order 5).
    \41\ Labeling for Bronchodilators To Treat Asthma; Cold, Cough, 
Allergy, Bronchodilator, and Antiasthmatic 2011.
    Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use, 76 FR 143
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    FSIS expects that all label changes resulting from this proposed 
rule will be coordinated with planned label changes. The mid-point 
label design modification costs for a minor coordinated label change 
are an estimated $310 per label. A coordinated label change is when a 
regulatory label change is coordinated with planned labeling changes by 
the firm. A coordinated change is likely because of uniform compliance 
labeling rules. These rules help affected establishments minimize the 
economic impact of labeling changes because affected establishments can 
incorporate multiple label redesigns required by multiple Federal 
rulemakings into one modification at 2-year intervals, to reduce the 
cost of complying with the final regulation.\42\ Moreover, this allows 
time to use existing labels and results in minimal losses of 
inventories of labels.
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    \42\ On December 14, 2004, FSIS issued a final rule that 
provided that the Agency will set uniform compliance dates for new 
meat and poultry product labeling regulations in 2-year increments 
and will periodically issue final rules announcing those dates. FSIS 
established January 1, 2016 as the uniform compliance date for new 
meat and poultry product labeling regulations that are issued 
between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014 (See 77 FR 76824). 
The final mechanically tenderized beef rule will likely be issued 
during this period. The March 2011 FDA report states that changes in 
labels for food products can be coordinated with firms' planned 
label changes within 42 months (see Table 3-1, Model to Estimate 
Costs of Using Labeling as a Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer 
Products Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, March 
2011 (Contract No. GS-10F-0097L, Task Order 5)).
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    In the case of a coordinated label change, only administrative and 
recordkeeping costs are attributed to the regulation, and all other 
costs are not.\43\ FSIS estimates the cost to be $1.05 million (3,374 
labels x $310) for mechanically tenderized beef products only; such 
products do not contain added solution. The annualized cost to the 
industry for products that are mechanically tenderized only is 
estimated to be $140 thousand at 7 percent for 10 years ($120 thousand 
when annualized at 3 percent for 10 years).
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    \43\ From the 2011 FDA labeling model paper, the costs of a 
label change (p. 3-3) include administrative and recordkeeping 
activities, graphic design, market testing (organizing focus 
groups), prepress (convert design to plates), engraving, printing, 
and disposing of old inventory. The regulatory costs of a 
coordinated label change are administrative and recordkeeping costs 
``associated with understanding the regulation, determining their 
responses, tracking the required change throughout the labeling 
change process, and reviewing and updating their records of product 
labels. The costs other than administrative and recordkeeping are 
not attributable to the regulation if the labeling change is 
coordinated with a planned change.'' (p. 3-5). Model to Estimate 
Costs of Using Labeling as a Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer 
Products Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, March 
2011. (Contract No. GS-10F-0097L, Task Order 5).
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    FSIS is developing a final rule that would require additional 
labeling of products with added solutions. If this proposed rule 
becomes final before the added-solution rule is finalized, the cost 
estimated would be higher to reflect an additional 15.8 percent (or 
5,077 labels) of all beef products that are both mechanically 
tenderized and containing added solutions. This would result in an 
additional one-time total cost (for all affected labels for 
mechanically tenderized beef containing added solutions) of $1.57 
million or $209 thousand when annualized at 7 percent for 10 years 
($179 thousand when annualized at 3 percent for 10 years).
    This proposed rule would require validated cooking instructions on 
packages for beef that is only mechanically tenderized and beef that is 
both mechanically tenderized and contains added solutions. 
Establishments could also incur costs to validate the required cooking 
instructions for raw and partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized 
beef products. These costs would be incurred to ensure that the cooking 
instructions are adequate to destroy any potential pathogens that may 
remain in the beef products after being tenderized. Most cooking 
instruction validations would be contracted out to universities or 
conducted by trade associations or large establishments. It is 
estimated that a validation study would cost between $5,000 and $10,000 
per product line with one formulation. Most studies will validate 
cooking instructions for beef products with two formulations: injected 
with or without solution; therefore, the total cost per validation 
study would be between $10,000-$20,000.\44\ Industry cost would likely 
be relatively small because FSIS is issuing guidance along with this 
NPRM that establishments can use to develop cooking instructions. FSIS 
is requesting comments on the number of cuts per establishment that 
would require validated cooking instructions and comment on whether 
establishments would use FSIS' guidance to develop the validated 
cooking instructions. In addition, FSIS requests comments on the 
estimated costs for developing validated cooking instructions. For 
purposes of this analysis, FSIS has assumed that the costs of 
developing validated cooking instructions would be minimal because FSIS 
assumes that most establishments will follow FSIS' guidance.
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    \44\ Per telephone conversation with the Grocery Manufacturers 
Association Director of Science Operations, Food Protection.
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FSIS Budgetary Impact of the Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule will result in no impact on the Agency's 
operational costs because the Agency will not need to add any staff or 
incur any non-labor expenditures since inspectors periodically perform 
tasks to verify the presence of mandatory label features and to ensure 
that the label is an accurate representation of the product. The 
Agency's cost to develop guidance material that establishments can use 
to develop cooking instructions will be minimal because such guidance 
exists and can be modified and posted on the

[[Page 34598]]

FSIS Web site in fewer than six staff-hours.
    FSIS is soliciting comments and data on any other potential federal 
costs that might result from finalizing this rule.

Expected Benefits and Miscellaneous Impacts of the Proposed Rule

    The Agency has determined that the proposed new labeling 
requirements will improve public awareness of product identities. The 
proposed rule will clearly differentiate non-intact, mechanically 
tenderized beef products from intact products, thereby providing 
truthful and accurate labeling of beef products.
    As stated earlier, when purchasing a beef product, tenderness is a 
key factor. However, not all needle- or blade-tenderized beef products 
are readily distinguished from non-tenderized beef products. Therefore, 
by requiring the descriptive designation ``mechanically tenderized'' on 
the labels of this product, the consumers will be informed of the 
additional attributes of the product when deciding whether to purchase 
the product. Although the benefits of having such additional 
information cannot be quantified, providing better market information 
to consumers could promote better competition among establishments that 
produce beef products. In addition, if the new label causes a 
divergence in price between intact and mechanically-tenderized beef, 
there would be a number of changes in consumer and producer surplus. 
Consumers who purchase mechanically-tenderized beef in the absence of 
the rule and would continue doing so in its presence would gain surplus 
due to the decrease in price for mechanically-tenderized beef, while 
consumers purchasing intact beef in the absence of the rule would 
experience a loss of surplus due to the increase in price for intact 
beef. Some producers of intact beef or other meats would realize a 
surplus increase because consumers may substitute such products for 
mechanically tenderized beef.
    FSIS has concluded that labeling information on needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products may help consumers and retail establishments 
better understand the product they are purchasing. This knowledge is 
the first step in helping consumers and retail establishments become 
aware that they need to cook these products differently than intact 
beef products before the products can be safely consumed. Additionally, 
by including cooking instructions, the food service industry and 
household consumers will be made aware that a mechanically tenderized 
beef product or injected beef product needs to be cooked to a minimum 
internal temperature and may need to be maintained at this temperature 
for a specific period of time to sufficiently reduce the presence of 
potential pathogens in the interior of the beef product.
    FSIS generated an estimate of the annual number of illnesses from 
mechanically (needle- or blade-) tenderized beef steaks and roasts and 
mechanically tenderized beef steaks and roasts that contain added 
solutions that could potentially be avoided as a result of this 
proposed rule. FSIS evaluated the effect of additional cooking of non-
intact product by first determining the implied concentration of 
organisms prior to cooking given current information, then determining 
the effect of adding additional cooking. Additional cooking is modeled 
to a minimum temperature of 160[emsp14][deg]F. Current cooking 
practices as captured in the EcoSure dataset do not specifically 
include the time from when the final cooking temperature was recorded 
to when consumption occurred. It is likely that product in this data 
set encountered a range of dwell times. FSIS recommends in its guidance 
concerning steaks and roasts a cooking temperature of 145[emsp14][deg]F 
with 3 minutes resting time for cooking steaks and whole roasts because 
data support that this would be equivalent to cooking at 
160[emsp14][deg]F without holding a product at that temperature for any 
dwell time.\45\ FSIS' guidance concerning cooking steaks and whole 
roasts is located at http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-the-new-recommended-temperatures/. If consumers adopt such 
practices, results would be comparable to consumers cooking product to 
160[deg] F but not holding product at that temperature for any dwell 
time.\46\ Therefore, FSIS used the results from the risk analysis that 
estimate the benefits of consumers cooking mechanically tenderized 
product to 160[deg] F without a dwell time because they are equivalent 
to 145[deg] F with 3 minutes of dwell time and because the Agency did 
not have information about dwell time from the risk analysis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ Equivalency in cooking temperatures and times can be 
estimated using D and Z-values. The D-value is a measure of how long 
bacteria must be exposed to a particular temperature to effect a 1 
log10 reduction. The Z-value is a measure of how much temperature 
change is necessary to effect a 1 log10 change in the D-value. 
Although these values have not been measured for E. coli O157:H7 in 
steaks, they have been measured in ground beef. At 158[emsp14][deg]F 
(70[deg][emsp14]C) E. coli O157:H7 had a D-value of about 3.3 
seconds, at 144.5[emsp14][deg]F (62.5[emsp14][deg]C) the D-value was 
52.8 seconds. (Murphy, R. Y., E. M. Martin, et al. (2004). ``Thermal 
process validation for Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and 
Listeria monocytogenes in ground turkey and beef products.'' J Food 
Prot 67(7): 1394-1402.) Three minutes at 145[emsp14][deg]F would be 
equivalent to more than 10 seconds at 160[emsp14][deg]F. Using the 
Z-value for E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef yields similar estimates. 
The Z-value was given as 9.8[emsp14][deg]F (5.43[deg]C). Changing 
the temperature from 160[emsp14][deg]F to 145[emsp14][deg]F would 
then represent an increase in D-value of about 1.5 log10. Thus, 3 
minutes at 145[emsp14][deg]F would be equivalent to 5.7 seconds at 
160[emsp14][deg]F. In either case, three minutes at 
145[emsp14][deg]F is more than equivalent to an instantaneous 
temperature (< 1 sec) at 160[emsp14][deg]F.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently 
completed an analysis attributing foodborne illnesses to their sources. 
Painter, et al., examined outbreak data from 1998 through 2008 and 
identified 186 outbreaks of E. coli O157 resulting in 4,844 illnesses 
during that period.\47\ As a consequence of this analysis, Painter, et 
al., attributed 39.4% of illnesses or 1,909 (4,844 x 0.394) to beef.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ Painter, J., R. Hoekstra, et al. (2013). ``Attribution of 
foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths to food 
commodities by using outbreak data, United States, 1998-2008.'' 
Emerg Infect Dis 9(3): 407-415.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of the 6 outbreaks in tenderized products described in Table 2, 5 
occurred during the time frame analyzed by Painter, et al. These 5 
outbreaks (occurring between 2000 and 2007) resulted in 151 illnesses. 
Thus, approximately 7.9% (151/1,909) of E. coli O157 illnesses are 
attributable to tenderized beef product.
    Painter et al.'s work includes the illnesses associated with 
outbreaks, which constitute only a fraction of the overall E. coli O157 
illnesses that occur each year. For an estimate of overall illness 
numbers, we turn to another CDC study, whose authors estimate that 
there are 63,153 annual illnesses due to E. coli O157 in the United 
States from all sources.\48\ To determine the annual number of 
illnesses from E. coli O157 (STEC O157), CDC begins with the annual 
incidence of STEC O157 infections reported to CDC's Foodborne Diseases 
Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) sites from 2005 to 2008. This 
value is adjusted up using an under-diagnosis multiplier that is based 
on the following factors:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ Scallan, E., R.M. Hoekstra, et al. (2011). ``Foodborne 
illness acquired in the United States--major pathogens.'' Emerg 
Infect Dis 17(1): 7-15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. Whether a person with diarrhea seeks medical care. CDC bases 
this on unpublished surveys of persons with bloody or non-bloody 
diarrhea conducted in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, and 2006-2007. CDC 
estimates that about 35% of persons with bloody diarrhea (about 90% of 
STEC O157 illnesses) would seek medical care and about 18% of persons 
with non-bloody diarrhea would seek medical care.
    2. Whether a person seeking medical care submits a stool specimen. 
This is

[[Page 34599]]

also based on unpublished surveys of persons with bloody or non-bloody 
diarrhea conducted in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, and 2006-2007. CDC 
estimates that about 36% of persons with bloody diarrhea seeking 
medical care and about 19% of persons with non-bloody diarrhea seeking 
medical care would submit stool specimens.
    3. Whether a laboratory receiving a stool specimen would routinely 
test it for STEC O157. This is based on a published study from the 
FoodNet Laboratory Survey.\49\ CDC estimates that 58% of laboratories 
would routinely test for O157 STEC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ Voetsch, A.C., F.J. Angulo, et al. (2004). ``Laboratory 
practices for stool-specimen culture for bacterial pathogens, 
including Escherichia coli O157:H7, in the FoodNet sites, 1995-
2000.'' Clin Infect Dis 38 Suppl 3: S190-197.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. How sensitive the testing procedure is. CDC used a laboratory 
test sensitivity rate of 70% based on studies of 
Salmonella.50 51
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ Chalker, R.B. and M.J. Blaser (1988). ``A review of human 
salmonellosis: III. Magnitude of Salmonella infection in the United 
States.'' Rev Infect Dis 10(1): 111-124.
    \51\ Voetsch, A.C., T.J. Van Gilder, et al. (2004). ``FoodNet 
estimate of the burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella 
infections in the United States.'' Clin Infect Dis 38 Suppl 3: S127-
134.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5. CDC also adjusted for geographical coverage of the FoodNet sites 
and for the changing United States population for the years 2005-2008.
    The value was also adjusted down for the following factors:
    1. The proportion of illnesses that were acquired outside of the 
United States. Based on the proportion of FoodNet cases of STEC O157 
infection who reported travel outside the United States within 7 days 
of illness onset (2005-2008), CDC estimated that 96.5% of illnesses 
were domestically acquired.
    2. The proportion of STEC O157 outbreak-associated illnesses that 
was due to foodborne transmission. Based on reported outbreaks CDC 
estimated that 68% were foodborne.\52\ The overall effect of the upward 
and downward adjustments is a multiplier of 26.1 that is applied to the 
reported number of illness which is then adjusted down by about 35% to 
account for domestically acquired foodborne illness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ Rangel, J.M., P.H. Sparling, et al. (2005). ``Epidemiology 
of Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks, United States, 1982-2002.'' 
Emerg Infect Dis 11(4): 603-609.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CDC's credible interval surrounding this point estimate ranges from 
17,587 to 149,631.\53\ The estimated annual illnesses due to 
mechanically tenderized product is given by 63,153 (annual estimated 
illnesses of E. coli O157:H7 \54\) x 0.394 (proportion of E. coli 
O157:H7 illnesses attributable to beef \55\) x 0.079 (proportion of 
beef attributable illnesses due to tenderized product \56\) = 1,965. 
This gives a range of estimated annual illnesses from 547 (= 17,587 x 
0.394 x 0.079) to 4,657 (= 149,631 x 0.394 x 0.079). FSIS requests 
comments on the methods used, including the application of the 
underlying datasets, to estimate illnesses attributable to mechanically 
tenderized beef and alternative methods for making this estimate. 
Because, combining three sources of information introduces uncertainty 
around the precision of these estimates, we are particularly interested 
in approaches to quantifying the uncertainty inherent in the method 
used.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ Scallan, E., R.M. Hoekstra, et al. (2011). ``Foodborne 
illness acquired in the United States--major pathogens.'' Emerg 
Infect Dis 17(1): 7-15.
    \54\ Ibid.
    \55\ Painter, J., R. Hoekstra, et al. (2013). ``Attribution of 
foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths to food 
commodities by using outbreak data, United States, 1998-2008.'' 
Emerg Infect Dis 9(3): 407-415.
    \56\ 151 outbreak illnesses attributable to tenderized beef out 
of 1,909 outbreak illnesses attributable to all beef (151/1,909 = 
0.079).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An analysis of the NHANES 2005-2006 Dietary Interview, Individual 
Foods, First Day, and Second Day files estimated approximately 11.7 
billion servings annually of steaks and roasts. FSIS contracted with 
Research Triangle Institute to estimate market shares for mechanically 
tenderized beef and mechanically tenderized beef with added 
solutions.\57\ After accounting for the proportion of all beef that was 
ground, FSIS estimated that 21.0% of non-ground product was 
mechanically tenderized only and that 31.6% of non-ground product was 
mechanically tenderized with added solutions. Thus, FSIS estimates that 
mechanically tenderized beef accounts for 6.2 billion servings 
annually. FSIS also estimates that the frequency of illness for 
mechanically tenderized product is 1,965/6.2 billion or 320 illnesses 
per billion servings, with a range from 88 (= 547/6.2 billion) to 751 
(= 4,657/6.2 billion) illnesses per billion servings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ Muth, M.K., M. Ball, et al. (2012). Expert Elicitation on 
the Market Shares for Raw Meat and Poultry Products Containing Added 
Solutions and Mechanically Tenderized Raw Meat and Poultry Products. 
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis 
Road.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The dose response function for a pathogen associates an average 
dose with a corresponding frequency of illness. For E. coli O157:H7 the 
dose response function is characterized by a linear part in which the 
predicted probability of illness per serving across all exposures is 
proportional with respect to an average dose and by a non-linear part 
in which the predicted probability of illness is not proportional.
    In the case of E. coli O157 illnesses attributable to mechanically 
tenderized beef, the frequency of illness is very low; therefore the 
mean dose across the population of servings that could account for this 
frequency of illness is also low. For one set of parameters the dose 
response function for E. coli O157:H7 corresponds to an average dose of 
0.0001 E. coli O157:H7 bacteria per serving with a frequency of illness 
of 320 per billion.\58\ This average dose is more than 5 
log10 below the point at which the dose response function 
becomes non-linear. This makes the average dose an appropriate 
surrogate for the distribution of all doses.\59\ At the lower end of 
the range of illnesses, a dose of 0.000028 E. coli O157:H7 bacteria per 
serving corresponds to a frequency of illness of 88 per billion 
servings. At the upper end of the range of illnesses, a dose of 0.00024 
E. coli O157:H7 bacteria per serving corresponds to a frequency of 
illness of 751 per billion servings. Both of these values also fall 
well below the point at which the dose response function becomes non-
linear.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ Powell, M., E. Ebel, et al. (2001). ``Considering 
uncertainty in comparing the burden of illness due to foodborne 
microbial pathogens.'' Int J Food Microbiol 69(3): 209-215.
    \59\ Williams, M.S., E.D. Ebel, et al. (2011). ``Methodology for 
determining the appropriateness of a linear dose-response 
function.'' Risk Anal 31(3): 345-350.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    From a post-cooking dose of 0.0001, a pre-cooking dose of E. coli 
O157:H7 bacteria can be calculated by determining the average 
contamination level needed to survive cooking. The 2007 EcoSure 
consumer cooking temperature audit \60\ involved the collection of data 
from primary shoppers of over 900 households geographically dispersed 
across the country. Participants were asked to record the final cooking 
temperature and name or main ingredient of any entr[eacute]e they 
prepared during the week of the study. Of the 3,257 recorded consumer 
cooking temperatures in the database for all products, 318 recorded 
consumer cooking temperatures ranging from 82[emsp14][deg]F to 
212[emsp14][deg]F for beef (not ground). Table 3 shows the number of 
observations for each recorded cooking temperature.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \60\ EcoSure-EcoLab. (2007). ``EcoSure 2007 Cold Temperature 
Database.'' FoodRisk.org Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://foodrisk.org/exclusives/EcoSure/.

[[Page 34600]]



   Table 3--Final Recorded Consumer Cooking Temperatures for Beef (Not
       Ground) in 2007 EcoSure Consumer Cooking Temperature Audit
                         [EcoSure-EcoLab, 2007]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Final cooking  temperature             Observations   Percent
------------------------------------------------------------------------
80-89...........................................             1       0.3
90-99...........................................             3       0.9
100-109.........................................             6       1.9
110-119.........................................            11       3.5
120-129.........................................            19       6.0
130-139.........................................            27       8.5
140-149.........................................            38      11.9
150-159.........................................            54      17.0
160-169.........................................            61      19.2
170-179.........................................            31       9.7
180-189.........................................            45      14.2
190-199.........................................            14       4.4
200-209.........................................             7       2.2
210-219.........................................             1       0.3
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sixty seven (21%) of the recorded cooking temperatures were below 
140 [deg]F and 159 (50%) of the temperatures were below 160 [deg]F. A 
2010 USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study by Luchansky et 
al.,\61\ looked at the relationship between final cooking temperatures 
and log10 reductions for mechanically tenderized beef. An 
additional ARS study by Luchansky, et al.,\62\ also examined the 
relationship between final cooking temperatures and log10 
reductions for chemically injected beef (mechanically tenderized beef 
with added solutions). Equations derived from these studies combined 
with the distribution of final cooking temperatures shown in Table 3 
estimate that an average pre-cooking dose of 0.0188 E. coli O157:H7 
bacteria per serving would result in an average post-cooking dose of 
0.0001. Thus, a pre-cooking dose of 0.0188 corresponds with the 
estimate of 1,965 illnesses. Given the current cooking distribution, 
more than 98% of the 1,965 illnesses are attributed to cooking 
temperatures below 160[emsp14][deg]F and less than 1% to cooking 
temperatures equal to or greater than 160 [deg]F.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ Luchansky, J.B., A.C. Porto-Fett, et al. (2012). ``Fate of 
Shiga toxin-producing O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 Escherichia coli cells 
within blade-tenderized beef steaks after cooking on a commercial 
open-flame gas grill.'' J Food Prot 75(1): 62-70.
    \62\ Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To evaluate the effect of using a higher minimum cooking 
temperature, FSIS modified the distribution derived from the EcoSure 
(2007) data set so that all of the observations that were originally 
below 160 [deg]F were set to 160 [deg]F. FSIS then calculated a new 
predicted number of illnesses using this modified cooking temperature 
distribution with the pre-cooking dose of 0.0188. This changes the 
post-cooking average dose from 0.0001 E. coli O157:H7 bacteria per 
serving to an average dose of 0.0000039, which corresponds to a 
frequency of illness of 13 per billion. With this change, the predicted 
number of illnesses decreases from 1,965 to 78. Thus, if all consumers 
cook all mechanically tenderized beef to at least 160 [deg]F, the 
resulting total number of illness will be 78. Analogous calculations 
yield illness estimates of 22 and 184 illness, respectively, if the 
baseline annual illness totals are 547 and 4,657.
    The annual estimated number of illness averted or prevented is 
estimated at 1,887 (1,965 illness less 78 illness), with a range of 525 
illness (547 illness - 22 illness) to 4,473 illnesses (4,657 illness - 
184 illness), if mechanically tenderized and mechanically tenderized 
beef containing added solution is cooked to a minimum temperature of 
160 [deg]F (which is equivalent to cooking to a minimum internal 
temperature of 145 [deg]F with 3 minutes of dwell time). However, FSIS 
knows that not all consumers or food service providers will change 
their behavior based on reading the labels and, therefore, the Agency 
has estimated the uncertainty surrounding the number of illnesses that 
will be averted by obtaining ranges for both the consumer and food 
service provider response rate, as well as using the range for the 
estimated number of illnesses if all consumers and food service 
providers cooked the product at a minimum recommended temperature.
    To determine this, FSIS used studies on the impacts of food product 
labels on consumer behavior. These studies estimated the proportion of 
consumers changing their behavior in response to the presence of 
cooking instructions (safe handling instructions) ranging from 15 to 19 
percent. \63\ In a study of the nutrition fact panel on food products, 
the American Dietetic Association (ADA) conducted a survey which 
indicated that 56 percent of the people interviewed claimed to have 
modified their food choices after using this nutrition fact labeling 
(American Dietetic Association, 1995).\64\ Finally, the Food Marketing 
Institute (FMI) in early 1995 indicated that the nutrition fact label 
may be causing some dietary change. Fifteen percent of the shoppers 
indicated that they had stopped buying products they had regularly 
purchased, after reading the label.\65\ We use the range (15 to 56 
percent) as the estimate for the impact of labels on consumer behavior 
in retail, with our primary estimate equaling the average of available 
estimates, or 24 percent. FSIS requests comments on the percentage of 
consumers who would change their behavior after reading the labels.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ Yang states that 15% (51% of respondents seen the Safe 
Handling Instruction labels x 79% remembered reading the labels x 
37% changing their behavior after seeing and reading the labels), 
and Bruhn states that 17% (60% of respondents seen the labels x 65% 
said that their awareness was increased x 43% said that they changed 
their behavior). Ralston states that 19% (67% of respondents seen 
the label x 29% who changed their behavior).
    \64\ America's Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences. U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Food and Rural 
Economics Division. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750.
    \65\ Food Marketing Institute (FMI) states that of the 43 
percent of the shoppers interviewed, who had seen the label, 22 
percent indicated it had caused them to start buying and using food 
products they had not used before, and 34 percent said they had 
stopped buying products they had regularly. We use the higher 
percentage of 15% (43% x 34%) in our estimate. FMI and Prevention 
Magazine Report Shopping for Health: Balancing, Convenience, 
Nutrition and Taste, 1997.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the RTI study indicates that the food service industry 
market share for mechanically tenderized beef and beef containing added 
solution is estimated at 53 percent and the market share for retail for 
the same products is estimated at 47 percent.\66\ In the absence of 
data, FSIS assumes for its primary estimate that the rule-induced 
percentage reduction in illness will be the same for food service 
establishments as for mechanically-tenderized beef purchased at retail 
(24 percent), and presents a range in which between 0% and 100% of food 
service providers will follow the validated cooking instructions. 
Should the rule become final, food service providers will be able to 
identify mechanically tenderized beef product as such and will 
therefore be able to follow the Food Code cooking instructions. The 
Food Code (developed by the Conference for Food Protection and adopted 
by 49 states, which represent 96 percent of the population) recommends 
cooking mechanically tenderized and injected meats to a minimum 
temperature of 145[deg]F for a minimum of 3 minutes. The Food Code, 
however, states that retail service facilities may serve such product 
rare if they notify consumers of the risk.\67\ Therefore, FSIS assumes 
that at a minimum, zero food service providers will follow the cooking 
instructions.

[[Page 34601]]

FSIS is including the lower end to recognize that some food service 
providers may recognize customers' requests that the meat be cooked 
rare. FSIS is requesting comments on food service providers' likely 
response to new labeling of mechanically-tenderized beef, including any 
cost that would be incurred by such establishments as a result of 
changing standard operating procedures related to intact and 
mechanically-tenderized beef.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ RTI, pp. 3-12 and 3-14.
    \67\ In the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public 
Health Service, FDA Food Code, 2009, S3-411.11 (D), a rare animal 
food such as rare meat other than whole-muscle, intact steaks, may 
be served or offered for sale upon consumer request or selection in 
a ready-to-eat form if the consumer is informed that to ensure its 
safety, the food is to be more fully cooked.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 4 shows the estimated reduction in illness numbers based on 
these assumptions for consumer and food service provider behavior. To 
derive the estimated number of illnesses averted and focusing first on 
inputs derived from Scallan et al.'s primary estimate, the range for 
the estimate would be 133 illness (1,887 illnesses (mid-point estimate 
from the risk analysis) * 47% (retail share of mechanically tenderized 
beef market) * 15% (lower end of the range for percent of consumer 
using validated cooking instructions) + 53% (food service share of 
mechanically tenderized beef) * 0% (lower end of the range for food 
service compliance with validated cooking instructions)) to 1,497 
illness averted (1,887 illnesses (mid-point estimate from the risk 
analysis) * 47% (retail share of mechanically tenderized beef market) * 
56% (upper end of the range for percent of consumers using validated 
cooking instructions) + 53% (food service share of mechanically 
tenderized beef) * 100% (upper end of the range for food service 
compliance with validated cooking instructions)). The primary estimate 
is 460 illnesses.

                                                                     Table 4--Response Rate and Resulting Averted Illnesses
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Category                          Retail                    Food service                         Total                           Averted illnesses             Expected benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Share of Mechanically Tenderized     47%........................  53%........................  100%................................  ....................................  .....................
 Beef in Retail vs. Food Service.
Response to Label..................  15 to 56% \1\..............  0% to 100%.................  7% to 79%...........................  133 to 1,497........................  $436,000 to
                                                                                                                                                                            $4,911,000.
Primary \2\........................  24% \1\....................  24% \1\....................  24%.................................  460.................................  $1,511,000.
Lower Bound \3\....................  ...........................  ...........................  24% (7% to 79%).....................  128 (37 to 416).....................  $420,000 ($121,000 to
                                                                                                                                                                            $1,366,000).
Upper Bound \4\....................  ...........................  ...........................  24% (7% to 79%).....................  1,091 (315 to 3,548)................  $3,581,000
                                                                                                                                                                            ($1,035,000 to
                                                                                                                                                                            $11,641,000).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The average of the percentages of consumer response rate: Yang 15%, Bruhn 17%, Ralston 19%, American Dietetic Association 56%, and FMI 15% as discussed in the benefits section.
\2\ Using estimated mechanically tenderized beef preventable illnesses of 1,887 illnesses.
\3\ Using estimated mechanically tenderized beef preventable illnesses of 128 illnesses.
\4\ Using estimated mechanically tenderized beef preventable illnesses of 1,091 illnesses.

    With the primary estimate, 24% of all mechanically tenderized beef 
previously cooked to a lower temperature is cooked to the suggested 
temperature, which is equivalent to 460 illnesses averted or prevented.
    Using the FSIS estimate for the average cost per case for an E. 
coli O157:H7 illness of $3,281,\68\ expected benefits from this 
proposed rule are $1,511,000 per year (with a range of $436,000 to 
$4,911,000). Using the credible interval from Scallan et. al provides 
expected benefits of $420,000 per year for 128 illnesses prevented 
(with a range of $121,000 to $1,366,000) for the lower bound of the 
credible interval and expected benefits of $3,581,000 per year for 
1,091 illnesses prevented (with a range of $1,035,000 to $11,641,000) 
in the upper bound of the credible interval. This estimate for the 
average cost of an E. coli O157:H7 illness is derived by using the 
current version of ERS Cost calculator (for E. coli) and replacing the 
case numbers with new case numbers based on Scallan's report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \68\ The FSIS estimate for the cost of E. coli O157:H7 ($3,281 
per case,--2010 dollars) was developed using the USDA, ERS Foodborne 
Illness Cost Calculator: STEC O157 (June 2011). FSIS updated the ERS 
calculator to incorporate the Scallan (2011) case distribution for 
STEC O157. Scallan E. Hoekstra, Angulo FJ, Tauxe RV, Widdowson MA, 
Roy SL, et. al. 2011 January. ``Foodborne Illness Acquired in the 
United States--Major Pathogens''. Emerging Infectious Diseases.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For E. coli, FSIS adjusted Scallan's case distribution to fit the 
ERS Cost Calculator because Scallan reported each illnesses in three 
categories (doctor visits, hospitalization, and death) while the ERS 
Cost Calculator for E. coli O157 has seven severity categories. By 
changing only the case numbers, FSIS kept all other assumptions in the 
ERS Cost Calculator. ERS has recently updated the dollar units to 2010 
dollars and FSIS is using these estimates.
    These estimates represent a minimal estimate for an average cost of 
illness because they only include medical costs and loss-of-
productivity costs. They do not include pain and suffering costs.
    FSIS believes that consumers prefer lower cooking temperatures \69\ 
and therefore they may substitute other meat choices rather than 
cooking at a higher recommended temperature included in cooking 
instructions. This welfare loss associated with substituting to less-
preferred meats or cooking to temperatures that are higher than ideal 
(from a taste perspective) was not quantified in the analysis.

Conclusion

    The cost to produce labels for mechanically tenderized beef is a 
one-time cost of $1.05 million or $2.62 million if this rule is in 
effect before the added solutions rule. The annualized cost is $140,000 
for 10 years at a 7 percent discount rate or $349,000 over 10 years at 
a 7 percent discount rate if this rule is in effect before the added 
solutions rule.
    The expected number of illnesses prevented would be 460 per year, 
with a range of 133 to 1,497, if the predicted percentages of beef 
steaks and roasts are cooked to an internal temperature of 160 [deg]F 
(or 145 [deg]F and 3 minutes of dwell time). These prevented illnesses 
amount to $1,511,000 per year in benefits with a range of $436,000 to 
$4,911,000. The expected annualized net benefits are $296,000 to 
$4,771,000 with a primary estimate of $1,371,000.
    If, however, this rule is in effect before the added solutions 
rule, the expected annualized net benefits are then $1,162,000, with a 
range of $87,000 to $4,562,000.
    Using the lower end of the credible interval from Scallan et. al 
provides an expected number of illness prevented of 128 per year, with 
a range of 37 to 416, as discussed earlier. These prevented

[[Page 34602]]

illnesses amount to $420,000 in benefits, with a range of $121,000 to 
$1,366,000. The expected annualized net benefits for the lower end of 
the Scallan's credible interval are $280,000, with a range of -$19,000 
to $1,226,000, if this rule goes into effect before the added solutions 
rule.
    Using the upper end of the credible interval from Scallan et. al 
provides an expected number of illness prevented of 1,091 per year, 
with a range of 315 to 3,548 as discussed earlier. These prevented 
illnesses amount to $3,581,000 in benefits, with a range of $1,035,000 
to $11,641,000. The expected annualized net benefits for the upper end 
of the Scallan's credible interval are $3,441,000, with a range of 
$895,000 to $11,501,000, if this rule goes into effect after the added 
solutions rule.
    In addition to the quantified net benefits mentioned above, the 
rule would generate the unquantifiable benefits of increased consumer 
information and market efficiency, an unquantified consumer surplus 
loss and an unquantified cost associated with food service 
establishments changing their standard operating procedures.
    As mentioned above, FSIS is using an estimate of the number of 
establishments producing needle- or blade-tenderized beef products and 
the number of labels that would need to be modified as a result of this 
proposed rule. FSIS requests comments on the number of official and 
retail establishments that are producing or packaging mechanically 
tenderized beef products and the number of labels that they might need 
to modify should this proposal be finalized.
    Additionally, FSIS cannot estimate the number of validation studies 
that would be necessary to develop cooking instructions for raw and 
partially cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products. In 
addition, FSIS requests comments on the costs of conducting these 
validation studies.

Alternatives

Vacuum-Tumbled Beef Products
    Some beef products are vacuum-tumbled to marinate and tenderize the 
product. The vacuum increases absorption of the marinade, while 
tumbling both tenderizes the product and increases absorption of the 
marinade. Vacuum-tumbled beef is a non-intact product, though its 
appearance is similar to whole, intact product. Research shows that the 
process of vacuum tumbling a product increases bacterial migration into 
the interior of the product.70 71 However, FSIS does not 
have sufficient data to understand the magnitude of the risk of 
pathogens that may be introduced into product as a result of vacuum 
tumbling. Therefore, the Agency is requesting that the public submit 
data concerning the safety of vacuumed tumbled beef products. In 
addition, FSIS is asking for comments to see whether vacuum tumbled 
beef product should be considered mechanically tenderized product and 
thus subject to the provisions of this proposed rule if it becomes 
final.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ Warsaw, CR, Orta-Ramirez A, Marks BP, Ryser ET, Booren AM. 
2008. Single directional migration of Salmonella into marinated 
whole muscle turkey breast. Journal of Food Protection. 71(1):13-
156.
    \71\ Warsow, C.R., Marks, B.P., Ryser, E.T., Orta-Ramirez, A., 
Booren, A.M., Effects of vacuum tumbling on Salmonella migration 
into the interior of intact, marinated turkey breasts. http://ift.confex.com/ift/2003/techprogram/paper_19598.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Enzyme-Formed Product
    Some meat and poultry products are formed with transglutaminase 
enzyme (TG enzyme). TG enzyme is approved for use as a cross-linking 
binder to form product, e.g., through binding pieces of beef tenderloin 
together to form a larger beef tenderloin steak or roast. FSIS 
regulations (9 CFR 317.8(b)(39) and 381.129(e)) require labeling for 
meat and poultry products that are formed or re-formed with TG enzyme 
as a binder as part of the product name, e.g., ``Formed Turkey Thigh 
Roast.'' Formed products are non-intact. However, the formed products 
are already labeled in a manner that distinguishes them from other 
products. FSIS requests comment on whether this labeling is sufficient 
to inform consumers of the nature of formed product and on whether any 
final rulemaking should include additional labeling requirements, such 
as validated cooking instructions on any not-ready-to-eat formed 
product. FSIS requests data on the volume of formed product, the volume 
of formed product sold at retail stores versus food service facilities, 
and any available data on whether consumers typically cook formed 
product at time and temperature combinations sufficient to destroy 
pathogens.
    FSIS considered several alternatives to the proposed rule:
    Option 1. Extend labeling requirements to include vacuum tumbled 
beef products and enzyme-formed beef products. FSIS considered the 
option of proposing to amend the labeling regulations to include a new 
requirement for labeling all vacuum tumbled and enzyme-formed beef 
products. But, as discussed earlier, FSIS does not have sufficient data 
concerning the production practices and risks of consuming vacuum 
tumbled beef products and enzyme-formed beef products to proceed with 
this option. FSIS is requesting comments and data on these products.
    Option 2. Extend the proposed labeling requirements to all needle- 
or blade-tenderized meat and poultry products. FSIS considered the 
option of proposing to amend the labeling regulations to include a new 
requirement for labeling all mechanically tenderized meat and poultry 
products. However, as discussed above, FSIS does not have sufficient 
data concerning the production practices and risks of consuming 
mechanically tenderized poultry products or mechanically tenderized 
meat products, other than beef, to proceed with this option.
    Option 3. Validated cooking instructions for needle or blade-
tenderized beef, needle-injected beef, and all beef containing 
solutions. FSIS considered the option of proposing to amend the 
labeling regulations to require validated cooking instructions for 
needle or blade tenderized beef, needle-injected, and all beef 
containing solutions. However, FSIS did not find any outbreak data for 
products that contain added solutions but are not injected. In 
addition, if products are marinated but not injected, the pathogen 
remains on the surface of the product and would typically be 
eliminated, even if the product is cooked to rare temperatures. 
Therefore, FSIS does not have any data necessary to substantiate the 
need for this alternative.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The FSIS Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities in the United States, as defined 
by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This 
determination was made because the rule will affect the labeling of 
about 10.5% of 24.3 billion pounds of beef products. Over 97 percent of 
the 555 federal establishments that produce mechanically tenderized 
beef products could possibly be affected by this proposed rule are 
small or very small according to the FSIS HACCP definition. There are 
about 251 very small establishments (with fewer than 10 employees) and 
291 small establishments (with more than 10 but less than 500 
employees). Therefore, a total of 542 small and very small 
establishments could possibly be affected by this rule. The FSIS HACCP

[[Page 34603]]

definition assigns a size based on the total number of employees in 
each official establishment. The Small Business Administration 
definition of a small business applies to a firm's parent company and 
all affiliates as a single entity.
    These small and very small manufacturers, like the large 
manufacturers, would incur the costs associated with modifying product 
labels to add on the labels ``mechanically tenderized'' and validated 
cooking instructions needed to ensure adequate pathogen destruction.
    Based on the estimated number of labels that will be required by 
the establishments, the cost will add an average of $0.001 per package 
($1.05 million/951 million packages of needle- or blade-tenderized 
beef).\72\ The average cost per establishment would be $1,884 per 
establishment ($1.05 million/555). Also, small and very small 
establishments will tend to have a smaller number of unique products 
and will therefore have a smaller number of labels to modify, and 
therefore less labeling cost.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \72\ FSIS estimates that the annual quantity of mechanically 
tenderized beef at is about 951 million packages (2.6 billion pounds 
of mechanical tenderized beef produced/2.735 average weight of a 
retail package according to the National Cattlemen's Beef 
Association).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The labeling costs discussed above are one-time costs. FSIS 
believes these one-time costs will not be a financial burden on small 
entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501, et seq.), the information collection requirement included in this 
proposed rule has been submitted for approval to OMB.
    Title: Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products.
    Type of Collection: New.
    Abstract: FSIS is proposing to require the use of the descriptive 
designation ``mechanically tenderized'' on the labels of needle- or 
blade-tenderized beef products, including beef products injected with 
marinade or solution, that do not fall under a regulatory standard of 
identity. FSIS is also proposing that the print for all words in the 
descriptive designation appear as the product name in the same style, 
color, and size and on a single-color contrasting background. In 
addition, FSIS is proposing to require that labels of raw and partially 
cooked needle- or blade-tenderized beef products include validated 
cooking instructions that inform consumers that these products need to 
be cooked to a specified minimum internal temperature and whether they 
need to be held at that minimum temperature or higher for a specified 
time before consumption, i.e., dwell time or rest time, to ensure that 
they are fully cooked.
    The average burden per response and the annual burden hours are 
explained below and summarized in the charts which follow.
    Estimated Annual Burden: Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products 
Recordkeeping:

Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden for Mechanically Tenderized Beef 
Products

    Respondents: Official meat establishments.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 555.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 30.454.
    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 16,902.
    Estimated Total Annual Recordkeeping Burden: 985.95 hours.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Estimated       Number of                       Time for
                                     number of     responses per   Total annual    responses  in   Total annual
                                    respondents     respondent       responses        minutes      burden hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Establishments maintain labels               555          15.227           8,451               2          281.7
 on file........................
Establishments maintain                      555          15.227           8,451               5          704.25
 validated cooking instructions
 on file........................
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Recordkeeping Burden..             555          30.454          16,902               7          985.95
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reporting

Estimated Annual Reporting Burden for Mechanically Tenderized Beef 
Products

    Respondents for this Proposed Rule: Official meat establishments.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 555.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 30.454.
    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 16,902.
    Estimated Total Annual Reporting Burden on Respondents: 18,733.05 
hours.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Estimated       Number of                       Time for
                                     number of     responses per   Total annual    responses  in   Total annual
                                    respondents     respondent       responses        minutes      burden hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Establishments are to prepare                555          15.227           8,451              13        1,831.05
 labels with descriptive
 designation and validated
 cooking instructions...........
Establishments are to develop                555          15.227           8,451             120       16,902
 validated cooking instructions.
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Reporting Burden......             555          30.454          16,902             133       18,733.05
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


        Summary of Burden--Mechanically Tenderized Beef Products
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total No. Respondents.........................................       555
Average No. Responses per Respondent..........................    60.908
Total Annual Responses........................................    33,804
Average Hours per Response....................................     2.417
                                                               ---------
  Total Burden Hours..........................................    19,719
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Copies of this information collection assessment can be obtained 
from John O'Connell, Paperwork Reduction Act Coordinator, Food Safety 
and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6083, 
South Building, Washington, DC 20250.

[[Page 34604]]

    Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS's 
functions, including whether the information will have practical 
utility; (b) the accuracy of FSIS's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed collection of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways 
to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who 
are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology.
    Comments may be sent to both John O'Connell, Paperwork Reduction 
Act Coordinator, at the address provided above, and the Desk Officer 
for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office 
of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20253. To be most effective, 
comments should be sent to OMB within 60 days of the publication date 
of this proposed rule.

E-Government Act

    FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the E-
Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, 
promoting the use of the Internet and other information technologies 
and providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government 
information and services, and for other purposes.

Executive Order 13175

    This proposed rule has been reviewed in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination 
with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this proposed 
regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal 
governments and will not have significant Tribal implications.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination 
in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, 
sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited 
bases apply to all programs.)
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication of program information (Braille, large .print, audiotape, 
etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and 
TTY).
    To file a written complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue 
SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TTY).

Additional Public Notification

    FSIS will announce this proposed rule online through the FSIS Web 
page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_policies/Proposed_Rules/index.asp.
    FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free 
electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS 
Web page. In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription 
service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food 
safety news and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Email_Subscription/. Options range 
from recalls to export information to regulations, directives and 
notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have 
the option to password protect their accounts.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 317

    Food labeling, Food packaging, Meat inspection, Nutrition, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, FSIS is proposing to 
amend 9 CFR Chapter III as follows:

PART 317--LABELING, MARKING DEVICES, AND CONTAINERS

0
1. The authority citation for Part 317 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  21 U.S.C. 601-695; 7 CFR 2.18, 2.53.

0
2. Amend Sec.  317.2 by adding and reserving paragraphs (e)(1) and (2), 
and adding a new paragraph (e)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  317.2  Labels: definition; required features.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (3) Product name and required validated cooking instructions for 
needle- or blade-tenderized beef products. (i) Unless the product is 
destined to be fully cooked at an official establishment, the product 
name for a raw or partially cooked beef product that has been 
mechanically tenderized, whether by needle or by blade, must contain 
the term ``mechanically tenderized'' as a descriptive designation and 
an accurate description of the beef component.
    (ii) The product name must be printed in a single font style, 
color, and size and must appear on a single-color contrasting 
background.
    (iii) The labels on raw or partially cooked needle- or blade-
tenderized beef products destined for household consumers, hotels, 
restaurants, or similar institutions must contain validated cooking 
instructions, including the cooking method, that inform consumers that 
these products need to be cooked to a specified minimum internal 
temperature, whether the product needs to be held for a specified time 
at that temperature or higher before consumption to ensure that 
potential pathogens are destroyed throughout the product, a statement 
that the internal temperature should be measured by a thermometer.
* * * * *

    Done at Washington, DC on: June 3, 2013.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-13669 Filed 6-7-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P