You want to cook ground beef long enough to kill germs and reach food safe cooking temperatures. If raw meat isn’t handled with care, or you don’t cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F, then bad bacteria can hide out on the dinner table.
The Outbreak Has Spread to Six States So Far
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the salmonella outbreak has reached the following states: California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. A total of 10 cases have so far been reported, eight of which resulted in hospitalizations and one which resulted in death. The specific strain is Salmonella Dublin, which is particularly aggressive.
The CDC announced the investigation on November 1. In interviews, patients reported consuming different types of ground beef from no consistent retailer. The supplier of the ground beef hasn’t been identified yet. However, the CDC is not urging consumers or retailers to throw out the product. Salmonella can be cooked out of raw meat, as long as buyers follow the proper cooking protocol.
How to Beat a Salmonella Outbreak
First, never consume raw or undercooked meat. Make sure every meat product you eat is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F. This includes ground beef, hamburgers and meat mixtures, like meatloaf. For an accurate temperature read, invest in a meat thermometer like this.
When you’re headed home from your weekly shopping trip, make sure raw ground beef is in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of purchase. Then, raw ground beef should only be refrigerated for two days, at most. To thaw ground beef, the refrigerator is your best route, and be sure to cook the meat within one or two days.
You’ll want to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after handling raw ground beef. Apply that rule of thumb to kitchen utensils and surfaces that come into contact with raw meat, too, and scrub everything down with hot, soapy water.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that line up with a salmonella outbreak, like abdominal pain and fever, reach out to your doctor ASAP. Symptoms typically appear between 12 and 72 hours post-consumption. Find more tips for protecting your family against salmonella here.