In Robb Walsh's recent feature story, "Not So Clear Cut," he explains how meat purveyors treat tough cuts of meat by marinating them with enzymes in commercial vacuum tumblers. But the practice has its risks, as Walsh writes:
"We can thank vacuum tumbler technology for turning previously tough cuts into excellent fajitas. But as always, there's a catch. As one A&M meat scientist explained, the process of marinating beef faces the same inherent problem as grinding beef. If you start off with one spot of bacterial contamination on the surface of the meat, you end up spreading it very effectively throughout the entire batch. It's only a matter of time before we face the first marinated-beef recall."
Is that what happened with the inside skirts steaks and beef for fajitas, two of the four meats being recalled by H-E-B? The chain notified Hair Balls that there's a voluntary national recall by JBS Swift Beef Company for E-coli for the following products:
• Raw Beef Briskets with plant inspection #969 (EST #969) with sell-by dates between 5/12 and 6/20 • Raw Beef Inside skirt steaks in a Styrofoam tray with sell-by dates between 5/4 and 6/20 • Hill Country Fare Beef for fajitas with a sell-by date of 5/23 • Any fresh ground beef in a Styrofoam tray with sell-by dates between 5/9 and 6/20
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So far, there haven't been any reports of illness in Texas, but check you freezers. And blame the Japanese for gobbling all our outside skirt steak.