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