The purpose of the analysis to be described below is to compare the risk to human health from
E. coli O157:H7 in blade-tenderized steaks to that from E. coli O157:H7 in steaks that have not
been tenderized. We do this by calculating the difference in the frequency of human illness
caused by tenderized and non tenderized steaks. We assume that the risk from tenderized roasts
is similar to, or less than, the risk from steaks. We also assume that blade tenderization is a
valid surrogate for any mechanical tenderizer.
Non-tenderized steaks are considered ‘safe’ if cooked to effect a color change. Therefore, if
such steaks are contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, they are not considered adulterated. The
concern with tenderized steaks is that they may not be safe in comparison to non-tenderized
steaks. This analysis should be useful in policy-making and serve as a tool for measuring the
potential public health benefits of regulatory options regarding mechanical tenderization
(including the option not to regulate).