Food Safety

Ground meat can post a series threat to food safety leading to sickness and food poisoning. Normally bacterial exists only on the outer surface of the meat. When meat is ground, bacterial contamination from the surface can be distributed throughout the meat. If ground beef is not well cooked, there is a good chance that pathogenic bacteria will survive leading to illness and food poisoning as the case with Jack in the Box hamburgers, which eventually caused four deaths and the illness of hundreds of people in 1993.
The United States Department of Agriculture has established food safety and quality requirements for the ground beef it purchases. A 2010 United States National Research Council report reviewed the scientific basis of the Department’s ground beef safety standards, evaluated how the standards compare to those used by large retail and commercial food service purchasers of ground beef, and looked at ways to establish periodic evaluations of the Federal Purchase Ground Beef Program. The report found that although the safety requirements could be strengthened using scientific concepts, the prevention of future outbreaks of food-borne disease will depend on eliminating contamination during production and ensuring meat is properly cooked before it is served.