Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Use Food Thermometer When Cooking Ground Beef

According to Health Canada, colour is not a reliable indicator that ground beef has been cooked to the temperature necessary to destroy harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7. The only way to be sure a hamburger patty is cooked properly and safely is to use an instant-read food thermometer.
Studies show that the colour of cooked ground beef patties can vary considerably. At 71°C (160°F) a safely cooked patty may look brown, pink or some variation of brown or pink. The bottom line is that if you cook your burger to 71°C (160°F) and check it with an instant-read food thermometer, you can enjoy a safe, juicy burger.
To quickly and easily check the temperature of the burgers, just remove the patties from the heat source when they are almost done and insert an instant-read food thermometer sideways into the centre of the thickest burger. If the temperature registers at least 71єC (160єF), the burger is done, if not, continue cooking until a minimum temperature of 71єC (160єF) is reached.
Health Canada also suggests that consumers do not eat hamburger patties that are pink or red in the middle, unless a food thermometer has been used to verify the proper temperature has been achieved. This is especially important for people most at risk for foodborne illness since E. coli O157:H7, a bacteria that can be present in ground beef, can lead to serious illness or even death. Those most at risk include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer, kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.
For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at