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May 2, 2012 10:21 AM

Ground meat safety (split from Ontario board)

Keep in mind ordering ground meat under cooked is not the same as ordering a steak or game meats. Unless the meat is seared on all sides before being ground up (similar to what Lick's does), there is a very high risk of contamination.

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  1. Meat is seared and then ground??


    1 Reply
    1. re: Davwud

      Lick's steam pasteurize their beef, before grinding, to kill surface bacteria.

    2. Assuming the meat is freshly ground on site, there is zero additional risk ordering it rare. Not sure if I'd trust a rare burger from a truck, though...

      7 Replies
      1. re: Michael N

        "zero additional risk"? - low, minimal, or reasonable risk maybe, but never zero.

        1. re: T Long

          Zero additional risk over serving that same piece of meat whole rather than ground. Why would there be any additional risk, assuming the meat has been ground and served within a few hours? (assuming sanitary kitchen conditions, of course)

          1. re: Michael N

            The outside of a whole piece is normally cooked before eating, killing any surface bacteria. Cooking just the surface of a hamburger made from the above piece of meat would not 100% kill the same bacteria. Unless you meant comparing eating a whole raw piece of meat with the same piece ground up...then of course no diff.

            1. re: T Long

              Okay, you have a point -- the additional risk isn't zero, but it also isn't "very high" as Apprentice cautions.

              1. re: Michael N

                I'm not saying it's very high. People aren't dying or getting sick from this everyday. However I just want to point out there is an additional risk to eating a rare or medium burger vs. a rare to medium steak. Regardless of where it is ground! Ground fresh just minimizes the growth of bacteria AFTER it is ground, it does not eliminate the surface bacteria that is already present.

                Again - I'm just trying to keep everyone informed. Not trying to spread fear or criticize anyone's burger choice.

                1. re: Michael N

                  You are literally trusting that the kitchen is sanitary and that all the meat handlers have good habits. I grew up eating and loving rare burgers, but it's something I've given up since the Washington State incident years ago.

                2. re: T Long

                  Just to be clear when you grind meat you also break a percentage of the cellular membranes which provides more growth media for the bacteria. If you take a piece of raw meat, cut it in half and grind half of it and let them sit for a few hours the bacterial count in the ground stuff will be higher than the unground, even though they started at the same baseline.

          2. The fear TPH and many large companies have put into peoples head is ridiculous. If Meat is ground on site in a cooler there is very little risk of contamination. The most food related illnesses came from rice and spinach over the last few years. Not meat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LexiFirefly

              I think being informed is a healthy situation. My own concern about under cooked hamburger meat is based on events reported and my own risk tolerance. Everyone else can make their own decisions about what and how they eat. What would be a shame though is someone getting sick or worse and then thinking..."gee, I didn't know THAT could happen".