How to Make Sure the Ground Beef You Eat Is Safe

From burgers to tacos, Americans love ground beef, but in the last two years, there’s been an alarming number of recalls for millions of pounds of contaminated meat. So, we decided to put ground beef to the test to see if it’s safe. Our Jim Ray has the surprising results. Americans love their ground beef, especially between a bun, but is all the beef you eat safe? It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life, honestly. 49-year-old, Steve Romus, of Gilbert, Arizona, had no idea what was making him deathly ill. His wife rushed him to the hospital. That’s where he found out what was wrong. After running a bunch of tests over and over again, they ultimately determined that I was suffering from salmonella poisoning. It turns out he says the ground beef he purchased at his local grocery store was the cause. So, how widespread is the problem? Could there be something lurking in the beef you buy at your supermarket? To find out, we went shopping in New York and purchased 100 samples of ground beef. Then we sent it off to IEH Labs in Seattle, Washington to test the meat for three types of bacteria that can get you sick, E. Coli, listeria, and salmonella. When the results came back, there was some good news, the lab didn’t find any harmful E. Coli bacteria in any of the samples. The bad news, the lab says five samples contained listeria and one had salmonella. That’s 6% of our total ground beef samples. So, if consumers took this ground beef that was actually contaminated, from your studies, and did not cook it properly, they definitely could get sick. So, what can you do to prevent yourself or your family from getting sick? Chef Mark Bower of the International Culinary Center provided some tips. First, refrigerate the beef soon after purchasing it, to slow any bacterial growth. Next, immediately after handling beef, thoroughly wash your hands and any utensils you used. This will prevent you from contaminating other food items. Finally, although it may be inconvenient, use a thermometer to make sure you cook the beef to 160 degrees. That should kill dangerous bacteria so this doesn’t happen to you. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could purchase ground beef and get as sick as I did. According to the CDC, salmonella poisoning from all foods causes more than 26,000 hospitalizations and 420 deaths each year. (upbeat music)

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