“We’re going to move the timeline up,” Vilsack told Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

mechanically-tenderized-beefPhil Brasher reports that special safety labels for mechanically tenderized meat are likely to take effect as soon as 2016, two years earlier than expected, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers. At a hearing with the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Vilsack said his department would suspend a regulation that would otherwise prevent the labeling for mechanically tenderized meat to take effect until 2018, because the administration failed to finalize the labeling rule before the end of last year.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service first proposed the labeling for mechanically tenderized meat in June 2013 out of concern that consumers aren’t cooking the meat properly to eliminate pathogens. The meat is tenderized with knives and needles that can drive bacteria inside the product.

USDA officials did not send the final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review until November 21. The regulation remains pending at OMB. Under FSIS labeling regulations, the labeling rule could have taken effect as soon as 2016 only if it had been cleared by OMB and approved by USDA by December 31.