Assume E. Coli is in All Ground Beef

You have to assume that every hamburger you eat or any ground beef you’re cooking can have E. Coli in it. Ever since the scare back in 2007 when over 845,000 pounds of ground beef was recalled for possible E. Coli contamination, I never trusted eating hamburgers that I did not thoroughly cook myself.

E. Coli can be a deadly bacterium that can be easily prevented by cooking your ground beef completely. Jeff Bender an expert on food safety from the University of Minnesota said “ With ground beef, you should just assume that E. Coli can be there, so it’s important to thoroughly cook the product and avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen”.  Nutrition Action reported in their March health letter that in the past three years there have been more than 16 reported outbreaks of ground beef contaminated with E. Coli.

How do you know if ground beef is cooked enough?

The only real way to know if your meat is cooked enough is to use a meat thermometer but I have never seen anyone use a meat thermometer beside myself to cook a hamburger. When ever I barbeque or cook beef, poultry or pork, I always use a thermometer to make sure the food is safe to eat.

What cooking temperature kills E. Coli?

You can’t go by the color of your meat to determine if it is cooked enough. You have to cook any food to 160° F to kill E. Coli  and the only way to tell is by using a meat thermometer.

More tips to protect your self from E. Coli.

Don’t think that you are safe if you ask the butcher to ground up a steak for you. The exterior of the steak can be contaminated and when it is ground up it winds up in the middle. Therefore, you still have to cook it to 160°F.

I try to buy USDA certified organic  meat whenever possible. The meat tastes better, is better for you and will most likely not be infected with E. Coli.  I still always cook the organic meat to 160°F; however,  to play it safe.

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Best – Mike Cola

Demystifying  Nutrition


About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

4 Responses to “Assume E. Coli is in All Ground Beef”

  1. I completely disagree.

    I mean, for pre-packaged burgers, yes. But, who would want to eat that garbage anyway? Buy some good meat, grind it in your food processor, and medium rare. Sure, you run a slight risk of e-coli on the outside of the meat, but that is unlikely if you use a good butcher. Plus, it tastes a million times better. Just because you can erase every risk, doesn’t mean that you should. I mean, you can eliminate the risk of lightning strikes by staying inside all the time.

    But that is crazy. So is eating crappy food for the rest of your life for the fear of a remote harm.

    Avoid frozen burgers. Ever notice how they always cause these e-coli outbreaks?

  2. It’s not just about the quality of the meat. There is no way to actually determine the quality of the meat unless you yourself is actually doing the dirty work, or witnessing the process. Animals are mistreated. The way they live, or what they are forced to eat easily can cause infection and spread it. I do not blame this person for taking percussion. Watch Food Inc. and learn a bit.

  3. I would like to correct you on thinking that “organic” meat is not going to have e coli or other toxins. I would suggest that it is more likely to have un wanted bacteria as you yourself carry un desitrable bacteria and if you feel ill you go to the doctor for a fix. Poor organic animals cannot so therefor have to live with any infection they have untill nature makes it right. Therefore your organic produce nearly always as higher levels of toxins that harm humans than non organic. ponder on that one.

  4. I’m afraid Digger is right, but he is actually bringing up a serious and important but less relevant point regarding e-coli. All animals have to poop, even “organic” ones. The fact is, e-coli comes from fecal matter whether it was an organic animal is irrelevant. What is important is minimizing contamination during rendering/processing/cooking, and at this point the USDA has the exact same standards for “organic” as they do regular meat. The reason for this is that the risks of health problems during this time of processing are real instead of the perceived ones for non-organic meat. To Digger’s point, there are dangerous new theories regarding standards for organic animal raising. For example some ignorant people would like us to regress 50 years by forcing the USDA to mandate no vaccinations for organic animals. These also happen to be the same group of people that believe vaccinations are cruel to animals, but they haven’t had to see the animals suffer and finally die from easily treatable diseases. They also may not realize that the organics are benefiting from the vaccinated group wellness and if this push for larger herds of organic animals continues, it will inevitably cause greater loss of animal life. Not sure if everyone understands what they are supporting when they support organic.