Almost all Ground Beef is ‘Contaminated with Fecal Matter’

Almost all Ground Beef is ‘Contaminated with Fecal Matter’
Food Safety Contamination

The next time you throw a thick, juicy burger on the grill, keep this in mind: almost all ground beef on the market is contaminated with dangerous fecal matter. The news comes as researchers find horse meat and other undeclared species in meat products.

Thank Consumer Reports for this stomach-turning piece of news. Their investigators recently gathered 300 packages containing 458 pounds of ground beef purchased at stores in 26 cities and found that every single one contained fecal contamination.

Any meat can make you sick if not cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but beef is especially dangerous because cows raised on crowded feedlots generally have more feces on their skin, and bacteria in the fecal matter gets mixed in with the rest of the meat during processing. Bacteria from one cow can wind up mixed in with that of many other cows. Are you nauseous yet?

The presence of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” was also discovered in some of the meat, though grass-fed organic beef –which tended to have less bacteria overall – contained far fewer of the pathogens.

While there’s no “safe” beef from such contamination, the researchers say your best bet is to purchase sustainably-raised beef when possible, and always make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

“Remember, when it’s ground beef, you’re taking it and grinding the bacteria from the surface of the beef into it,” Consumer Reports‘ director for food safety said.

“So unlike a steak, you’re really moving all that bacteria all around the beef. So it’s especially important for ground beef, to cook it to 160 degrees to be absolutely safe.”

Health officials say consumers should avoid “cannibal sandwiches,” or “steak tartare,” at all costs. The “sandwiches” are appetizers containing raw, lean ground beef served on cocktail bread. The meat is seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with raw onion. Raw egg is sometimes mixed with the ground beef. [2]

The Wisconsin tradition may be a unique favorite of some, but they’re risky business: in 2012, more than a dozen people were sickened with E. coli by eating the sandwiches at social gatherings over the holiday season. The store where the beef was purchased eventually had to recall more than 2,500 pounds of meat.

Cannibal sandwiches were also linked to outbreaks in 1972, 1978, and 1994.

[1] Fox News

[2] Newser