It doesn’t really matter where you acquired your beef, whether in a supermarket or grinded at home, it’s always crucial to cook it entirely. The reason behind this is because undercooked ground beef can present hazardous bacterias like E. Coli and Salmonella.
These bacterias are killed when you expose them to fire, or high temperatures. Experts say a temperature of 165 F or higher is sufficient to wipe out foodborne bacteria.
When the time of cooking ground beef comes, either you are making ground beef tacos, lasagna or hamburguers, it is extremely important to expose it to a high enough temperature to make sure we are eating safe beef. This means you have to eat your meat well-done. No pink beef in the middle of your hamburger. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature and make sure you are in the clear.
But why is it different from steaks?
You might be asking to yourself, ‘’why do I have to cook ground beef thoroughly?’’
The answer is the surface area of the meat.
Red meat is quite dense in regards to bacteria. It just can’t penetrate the meat, so the interior of a steak or a roast, doesn’t get affected by bacteria. Instead, only the exterior surface gets touched, bacteria gets killed off by cooking.
The interior of a steak is not exposed to the outside world at any point until it’s served and cut open. Any pathogens on a steak are on the outside, and are hopefully cooked off when cooking and searing.
But in ground beef, it’s different, as it’s been chopped up into tiny pieces and everything’s been exposed to the air in the grinding process. Everything gets exposed as the surface area multiplies 10–20x as all the beef is now essentially surface coverage, so the only choice to be safe is to cook that beef well in order to kill the bacteria.
So, when it comes to our safety and our family’s, it is a no-brainer to eat ground beef well-done.
If you want to keep eating delicious burgers or lasagnas in a healthy way, make sure to follow these tips:
- Keep raw meat separated from ready-to-eat foods.
- Wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they touch raw ground beef.
- Wash meat thermometers between rounds of testing the temperature of ground beef being cooked.
- Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the patty, meatloaf, or other ground beef dish reads at least 160ºF.
- In restaurants, send back undercooked ground beef. Be especially careful with food that will be consumed by people who may be more susceptible to foodborne illness, for example children or the elderly.
- Be aware that bacteria from undercooked ground beef could contaminate other foods on the plate — and even the plate itself.