The industry increasingly relies on a mechanical tenderization process, increasing E. coli risks. Meanwhile, doctors and USDA say antibiotic overuse is leading to resistant bacteria in humans. And with consumption down, beef is fighting back with efforts to influence U.S. dietary guidelines.

The Kansas City Star, in a wide-ranging 12-month investigation, found that Big Beef is increasingly relying on a mechanical process to tenderize meat — exposing Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning than cuts of meat that have not been tenderized — and resisting labeling such products so consumers know what they’re eating. The result: Beef in America is more affordable, but it’s a bonanza with hidden costs for your health.