Grillers take note.

By Meghan Overdeep
May 18, 2019
porpeller/Getty Images

We have bad news for those of you who like their burgers almost mooing. While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics standards say it’s fine to eat your steak cooked rare, it’s unsafe to do the same with hamburger and other ground meat.

The reason? Food safety experts say it’s all in the process.

“Grinding the meat extends the fabrication (or cutting) process one more level,” Ted Siegel, chef/instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, explained to Reader’s Digest. “Usually pathogens are found on the surface of the muscle tissue, so once you start grinding up the meat, you’re dispersing the pathogens throughout more of the meat beyond the surface.”

So, if you serve a burger that’s rare or undercooked, any germs that haven’t been killed off are still alive and well in the meat, increasing the risk of food poisoning, Siegel added.  For ground meat to be enjoyed risk free, the meat needs to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, making it well done. So, if you choose to eat a rare burger, keep in mind that there’s a chance that bacteria are present.

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Luckily, with steak, because the pathogens are only on the surface, as long as the outside is seared, it can be safely eaten at a lower degree of doneness.  

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