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Picture this scenario: you are just about to sink your teeth into a big fat juicy burger. You glance down and see a headline that reads, “Hamburgers contain deadly bacteria E.coli”. Still got an appetite for tasty meat? We’ve got the ‘beef’ on hamburger.
There is new research available that tells us ground beef could be dangerous to ingest. Why is hamburger meat so problematic? The main reason is that ground beef comes from the meat from many different cows, a term butchers call “meat mash-ups”.

Tips to Avoid Bacterial Infections from Ground Beef

  • Get it hot in here.
You can heat things up by cooking the meat at a high enough temperature—160 degrees—to kill all pathogens. Experts say that this is the only real way to kill bacteria.
  • Divide and conquer.
Separate the hamburger meat from other foods in your refrigerator and store your ground beef on the bottom shelf.  This prevents cross-contamination and mixing of raw items that are not to be cooked with the meats. Also, use different cutting boards and utensils for meats. Experts suggest avoiding cutting board made out of wood and choosing the fiberglass alternatives.
  • ‘Steer’ clear.
When cooking the ground cow beef, it should no longer be raw and pink. Make sure the juice from the burger is clear, not pink or red.
  • Cool it!
Give your beef the big chill by storing it at the proper temperature—40 degrees or below. Remember, E. coli and other organisms can grow and thrive in temperature higher than 40 degrees.
  • Take care and beware.
Defrost very, very carefully. When you thaw ground beef, move it from the freezer to the frig rather than leaving it out on the counter. This cuts down on the transmission of harmful bacteria. Beware of leaving it in your sink where you wash your vegetables.

  • Trash it.
If you refrigerate raw meat, only do so for a couple of days. The Food and Safety division recommends that you toss out meat that is past its prime. Be sure to double bag it before you toss it in the trash or better yet, put it down the garbage disposal. Avoid handling bad meat with your bare hands and don’t let it drip on anything.
  • Wash your hands, man.
There is never enough handwashing for cooks. Bacteria can be spread around your kitchen when you are handling raw uncooked hamburger meat. Frequent handwashing cuts down on the germ transmission.
  • Check its temperature.
Sounds odd but experts recommend you use a meat thermometer to gauge the temperature of your ground beef. You can get one at the supermarket and many are inexpensive and disposable.
  • Spice it up.
You can add fresh oregano to your meatloaf or burgers for improved taste and more. The researchers at Kansas State University found that by adding oregano to ground beef resulted in antibacterial properties and less infection.
  • Go from thick to thin.
Flatten out your patties. The outside of a thick burger may char and cook, leaving the inside raw. The flatter and thinner the patty is, the more likely it is to be thoroughly cooked.
  • Separate at the supermarket.
When shopping, take plastic bags in with you. Separate your meats before you checkout in their own bags. If you can’t do that, make sure you keep them far away from fresh vegetables, and encourage your bag boy to put all ground meat products in their own plastic bag to avoid meat drippings contaminating other groceries. This goes for steaks and roasts also.
  • Bleach clean up.
Bleach is an effective and cheap alternative to kitchen cleaners. Mix a solution of one part bleach and ten parts warm water. Use this for cleaning throughout your day. Be sure to clean countertops, cutting boards, utensils, etc. with the bleach solution. Toss it at the end of the day. This is one of the most important things you can do for your family.