April 21, 2018

Use a Food Thermometer This Holiday Weekend

The USDA is reminding consumers to use a food thermometer when cooking this holiday weekend. There is an ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with undercooked hamburgers that has sickened at least 11 people in four states. That outbreak is also associated with a recall of 1.8 million pounds of ground beef produce by Wolverine Packing Company.

Food ThermometerJust remember to practice safe food handling techniques to protect yourself and your family. The pathogenic bacteria that cause foodborne illness are killed when foods are heated to the correct temperature. For ground beef and other ground meats, that is 160°F. Hot dogs should be cooked to 165°F, poultry to 165°F, whole cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and veal to 145°F (followed by a three-minute rest time), and fish to 145°F.

Whole cuts of beef used to make ground beef can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on the surface. The bacteria are usually not inside the muscle. But when the meat is ground to produce hamburger, that bacteria is mixed throughout the mixture. Then when burgers are cooked to rare, medium well, or medium, the bacteria can make you sick because they aren’t killed during cooking.

To keep your family safe, make sure you follow the food safety rules of clean, separate, cook and chill. Wash your hands before you eat and prepare food. Clean cutting boards and utensils with warm soapy water before preparing food and after handling raw meats and eggs. Keep meat products chilled until you’re ready to cook, and refrigerate perishable foods promptly. Cook foods thoroughly and check the temperature with a reliable food thermometer. Keep raw meats and eggs away from foods that are not cooked before they are eaten.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include stomach and abdominal cramps, watery and/or bloody diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. If you do develop these symptoms, especially if you have eaten ground beef recently, see your doctor immediately and tell her you ate hamburger. E coli infections can become worse when treated with antibiotics, and can develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome that can cause kidney failure, so your doctor needs to know this information.

Comments

  1. Tami K. Hastings says:

    Use a food thermometer EVERYDAY!

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