The 1.8 million pounds of beef being recalled for possible E. Coli contamination is a good reminder of how important it is to be careful when cooking meat this holiday weekend.
Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist Bryan Severns says just because your meat is brown, doesn't mean you've killed all the bacteria that could make you sick. It's vital that you use a meat thermometer-and make sure you're using the right kind.
A dial thermometer is made for thicker pieces of meat, while a digital thermometer is better for thin products like hamburgers and chicken breast. Severns says all our food, especially raw meat, has pathogens.
"So we want to make sure that you're not ingesting live bacteria when you eat your hamburger. Hamburger has a tendency to have E. coli, Salmonella and listeria involved and we want to make sure those are dead by cooking to 160 degrees, that will kill those bacteria," he said.
Also, be sure to use separate utensils for raw meat and cooked meat. That way you don't put bacteria back onto the meat you just cooked.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after you remove meat from the grill, or any other heat source, depending on the type, it may need to rest for a specific amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs. Click for the food safety chart to find out the appropriate cooking temperature and to see if the meat you are preparing requires a rest time.