Since June, 12 people in the state have been infected with the same strain of E. coli after eating ground beef, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services. The safety of ground beef is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is assisting the state investigation.
“Ground beef is a known source of E. coli and it is important for people to avoid eating under-cooked ground beef whether at home or at a restaurant,” said Marcella Bobinsky, acting director of the state DPHS. “Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to severe illness with this infection.”
The people who became ill ate ground beef at a number of different locations. State health officials and the USDA are working to identify the specific source.
Ground beef should be cooked at a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A friend of Amy’s from her PhD days at the I-was-there-when-Tom-Brady-was-there University of Michigan and her family came over last night for dinner.
They’d been on the road a long time, so I figured a U.S.-styled meal of steak and two veg would be welcomed.
After a day of cleaning and cooking – seriously, me and two other semi-house dads I hang with at the kid’s school should jump on the food porn train with all the shopping and cooking we do and the discussions we have about how to make a slow-cooked chicken curry while also talking about the shit guys say on mic’d up hockey – Amy went off with her friend and family and I got to write.
Yet only a couple of hours into the adventure, I get this from Amy:
We went to a place for lunch in Noosa. I was going to get a burger but read that “All our burgers are USDA certified organic and served medium-rare.”
Use a thermometer and stick it in.
Only way to tell if something is microbiologically safe.
The Kingswood Arms in Waterhouse Lane was downgraded from a 5 to a 1 following a visit in February, a decision that has left landlord Tony Slayford furious.
He told the Mirror: “That is the only reason why we went to number 1, which I am absolutely disgusted about. They were happy with all the cleanliness. Everything is spot on.”
The pub has been offering burgers cooked medium-to-rare for more than five years, but has always asked customers to sign a disclaimer beforehand.
Mr Slayford said previous inspectors from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council had never raised it as an issue, but he has now amended menus to say all burgers must be well done.
Mr Slayford added: “It’s because they [the council] don’t like it. It’s not illegal at all. Other burger chains do it, but Reigate and Banstead council do not like it. Different councils do different things. In London, you can do it.
“We didn’t know. We were not told previously. I’m fuming about it, absolutely fuming. I have been here 30 years and I have never, ever had a problem.
“For 15 years we have been a 5, we haven’t dropped at all. I think what has happened with us is completely unjust. We are thinking of taking the council to court.
“If someone asks for medium to rare burgers, we are talking 1 in about 2,000 people. I was devastated. We have had a solicitor involved. To me, keeping the five stars is very important.”
Mr Slayford said inspectors were going to revisit before August 1.
Katie Jackson, Environmental Health Manager said, “The lowering of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score from 5 to 1 at the Kingswood Arms was not solely based on the issue of serving rare burgers.
“Our rating was based on a number of food hygiene deficiencies, of which the landlord is aware. Mr Slayford appealed against the rating but was unsuccessful and we have provided him with detailed advice about why his score was lowered, the issues he needs to tackle and the changes he should make to achieve an improved rating.
“When assessing the safety and hygiene of serving burgers cooked medium and rare, we follow the advice of the national Food Standards Agency.”
Why can you have a safe rare steak and not a rare burger?
The British Hospitality Asssociation says: “Bacteria, for example E. coli, tend to be found on the outside surfaces of meat, rather than the inside, of a steak or joint of meat. If you mince meat, the outside surfaces are then mixed up with bacteria inside and this means that any E. coli from the outside will be mixed all the way through the burger.
“But if you sear the outside of a steak, you will have killed off the bacteria on the outside surfaces and the inside surfaces will be safe even if served rare.”
How many steaks in the UK are needle or blade tenderized?
It’s about 11 per cent in the U.S. and Canada, and both countries now require labels.
Common belief has been, according to Tristan Lutze, a Sydney-based food writer, that a good burger patty should be fat, juicy and pink inside. To cook it perfectly, you need a nicely oiled grill and a careful hand, taking care to never press on the burger and squeeze out those delicious juices.
Color is a lousy indicator and a tip-sensitive digital thermometer is required.
But there’s something of a burger rebellion happening on America’s east coast, and it’s beginning to spread.
The secret is a technique called “ultra-smashing”, a phrase coined by The Food Lab for a process that’s being used by burger superstars Harlem Shake in NYC, and the obsession-worthy Shake Shack.
With just a couple of pieces of equipment and a small piece of meat, it creates a flavour-packed burger in under a minute. Yes, in less than 60 seconds.
All you need is:
— A stainless steel pan, or BBQ hotplate. Your favourite non-stick pan WON’T work here.
— Any tool that will help you press down on the meat as hard as possible once it’s on the pan. A (new, washed) $10 stainless steel plastering trowel from a hardware store is perfect, and capable of much more pressure than a kitchen spatula.
— A scraper to dislodge the meat from the pan. A steel pastry scraper will work, but a joint knife or scraper from the hardware store is even better.
Heat the unoiled pan to nearly smoking and roll your mince (the fattier the better) into a 5cm diameter ball. Place the meat into the centre of the pan and immediately press down on the patty with the trowel or spatula, applying extra pressure with the scraper if needed.
Keep pushing as hard as you can until the meat is only a few millimetres thick.
Whatever the technique, a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, inserted sideways in this case, is still required.
The company determined that 6.6 percent of the products contained an ingredient that was not listed on the label. In fact, there was beef DNA found in five products that were not supposed to contain beef, including two vegetarian burger products.
In addition, there were 14 products — all vegetarian — that were missing ingredients that were listed on the label. This includes a black bean burger that didn’t have any black beans in it. Altogether, 23.6 percent of vegetarian products were determined to have some discrepancy between the final product and the ingredients listed on the label.
That’s not where the trouble ends for veggie products, however. One vegetarian burger was determined to contain human DNA. The company notes that it was unable to uncover the source of the DNA, but it was likely from hair or skin cells.
Clear Labs also found issues with the meat samples that it tested. A fast food burger and a ground meat sample both contained rat DNA, in addition to one vegetarian burger.
In addition, seven of the 258 samples of meat tested contained a pathogen that had the potential to cause a foodborne illness. The report notes that the pathogens found in the cooked burgers were less likely to be alive and pose a smaller health risk.
“Although we did find several surprising quality issues, signaling that there are gaps in food safety and quality protocols that should be addressed, our findings suggest that the beef industry as a whole has benefited from stringent regulation and aggressive testing requirements,” Clear Labs said in the report.
“I don’t think this report is helpful for a consumer to know if the food that they are choosing is safe or not,” Mandy Carr, the senior executive director of science and product solutions for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told CNBC.
She raised concerns as to when the DNA discovered on the products was added, noting that the samples could have been contaminated in the lab it was tested in. Carr also noted that the study did not delve into whether the pathogens found in the meat were alive or benign, something that could have been tested.
Not sure who is worse here: the celebrity chef or the government regulators.
But they’re both wrong on the topic of shiga-toxin producing E. coli in hamburgers.
The stories pitch it as a “bun fight between health bureaucrats and burger bars over what makes a safe hamburger.”
And both sides are using erroneous information.
I don’t really care what people eat, other than what they feed to their kids, and that accurate information is provided.
A NSW Food Authority spokeswoman said council officers had approached the watchdog in recent months “concerned about the increase in businesses serving rare/undercooked burgers” and potential health risks.
The authority has sent revised “Hamburger Food Safety” guidelines to Environment Health Officers, attached to the state’s 152 councils.
“Mince meat should be cooked right through to the centre,” the instructions say, citing a temperature of 71C.
“No pink should be visible and juices should run clear.”
Color is a lousy indicator, as is juices running clear. The only way to tell if a burger is safe is to use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.
Regulators, with all their talk of science-based activities, should know better.
The spokeswoman said if businesses wanted to cook using an alternative temperature, “they must be able to demonstrate that their cooking process is safe”. Burger bars that don’t meet the new guidelines face penalties up to $1540 per offence “for the preparation or sale of unsafe food”.
Sydney chef Neil Perry, who plans to open four Burger Project stores this year, cooks his patties to medium — about 60C. But he said the big difference is staff at his outlets grind meat fresh every day, making it safe.
“We can do medium-rare, which is about 55C, but we rarely get asked for that,” he said. “About 10 per cent of orders are for ‘well done’.”
Perry said the food guidelines serve as a “worst-case scenario” safety net.
“Those guidelines from the health department are important because a lot of burger places have their patties supplied by butchers and have already been minced,” he said.
Perry said bacteria starts growing as soon as meat is minced so chefs need to mince and cook on the same day and keep meat refrigerated at the right temperature:
“We grind our patties in store every day.”
Shiga-toxin producing E. coli are generally found on the surface of meat cuts (unless that meat has been needle tenderized). The process of mincing moves the outside to the inside, so rare is risky.
Those dangerous E. coli are also especially infectious, with as few as 10 cells thought to cause illness.
Roberto A. Ferdman and Christopher Ingraham, reporters for the Washington Post, write there are few things as regrettable as a steak well done.
Cooking meat to the point of leathery toughness dulls the flavor, among many other things. “Forgive my snobbishness, but well-done meat is dry and flavorless,” Mark Bittman wrote in 2007, imploring people to serve hamburgers “rare, or at most medium rare.”
This is food safety idiocracy: Using Bittman to prop up an argument is silly.
The authors continue by commenting on the gastro habits of Donald Trump, who apparently likes his steak well-done.
This, more than anything else Trump has ssaid or done, brings him into ridicule.
A 2014 survey by 538 found that fully one-quarter of Americans said they liked their steak done “well” or “medium-well.” Is this Trump’s base? Hard to tell, since there weren’t enough steak-eaters in the 538 survey to break out demographic groups. But we can turn instead toa 2012 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey that asked 1,000 Americans how they liked their burgers done.
The results shock the conscience. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they liked their burgers well done, making that the most popular response. Another 29 percent liked medium burgers, 19 percent prefer medium-rare, and only 4 percent cook their burgers rare.
Digging into the demographics, a few interesting patterns stand out. First, preference for overcooked meat is strongly correlated with age. Forty-six percent of senior citizens prefer their burgers well done, compared to only 27 percent of those aged 18 to 29.
The less-educated are also more likely to prefer well done burgers – 47 percent of those with a high school education or less like their burgers well done, compared to only 25 percent of those with a college or advanced degree.
There’s a similar relationship with income, with people in higher-income households less likely to overcook their burgers than people in low-income households.
These are the same demographics as anti-vaxxers, raw-milk connoisseurs and anti-GMO types.
And surveys still suck.
Hamburger should be cooked to 165F, steak 140F, as verified with a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.
No amount of flowery put-downs or caste-style insults will change the safety data.
The UK Food Standards Agency has made a begrudgingly acknowledgement to thermometers, but still insists on color to tell if burgers are done.
The growing popularity of burgers served pink has led the FSA to develop the advice on rare burgers. It is aimed at helping businesses meet consumer demand for rare burgers while keeping customers protected. Burgers that aren’t thoroughly cooked can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning if the right controls aren’t in place.
In September 2015, the FSA Board agreed a number of controls that food businesses serving burgers pink will need to have in place to demonstrate that they are maintaining customer safety. The new advice sets the options out and they include:
sourcing the meat only from establishments which have specific controls in place to minimise the risk of contamination of meat intended to be eaten raw or lightly cooked;
ensuring that the supplier carries out appropriate testing of raw meat to check that their procedures for minimising contamination are working;
sStrict temperature control to prevent growth of any bugs and appropriate preparation and cooking procedures;
notifying their local authority that burgers that aren’t thoroughly cooked are being served by the business; and,
providing advice to consumers, for example on menus, regarding the additional risk.
The draft advice is for caterers and local authorities only and the FSA’s long-standing advice to consumers is unchanged: burgers prepared at home should be cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside. If using a temperature probe or cooking thermometer, make sure the middle of the burgers reaches a temperature of 70⁰C for 2 minutes.
If you’ve bought minced beef or pork from ICA range since February 28th you should not eat the produce. The supermarket chain has announced that 13 different products are affected by the scare. The batches of meat which are at risk of carrying salmonella are understood to have expiration dates of between March 6th and March 10th.
These include mince from ICA’s Basic and Import ranges which is sold in a variety of sizes and comes from Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. The company said in a statement that it had taken the meat off shelves across the country after discovering salmonella during a routine check.