The fight to keep your burger safe from E. Coli

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2010 - 5:41 AM

Cargill uses an array of tools to keep E. coli out of meat, yet a complete fix is elusive.

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Tryg27Sep. 15, 1010:12 AM

Unbelievable, to say the least. I purchased a quarter beef this year from a local farmer for the first time, and I will not go back to the stores for my meat purchases. Quality of the meat was better, and the price was very competitive. The animal I ate did not receive any grain or vet visits, let alone additional drugs to try and kill E-Coli.

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JP55901Sep. 15, 1010:44 AM

Great, super, we're happy for you. I suppose you get raw milk from a local farmer, too?

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hfnorthSep. 15, 1010:46 AM

I've been buying grass fed beef and bison from local sources. Much less fat and no chemicals. Way more healthy for human consumption. These critters are not pen raised, and eat prairie grasses.

And as always, cook meat to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria. That does not mean it needs to be like shoe leather, but get the internal temperature up to 145 degrees for 15 minutes and you're fine.

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hfnorthSep. 15, 1010:48 AM

Maybe I missed it, but has there been an E-coli outbreak in pasteurized milk? Let us know if that's the point you are trying to convey.

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stonekingSep. 15, 1010:58 AM

Just sayin'...

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jimatelySep. 15, 1012:25 PM

for irradiation. This would solve a whole bunch of problems.

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vanhornSep. 15, 1012:48 PM

The problem of E. coli contamination is not due to the meat coming from multiple animals or multiple feedlots as stated, although that makes it harder to trace a specific source. The problem is that coliform bacteria are a contaminant on the outside of a piece of meat. Grinding the various pieces of meat makes lots of very small pieces of meat, then packs them together so that the potentially-contaminated outside of those tiny pieces of meat are packed into the inside of a meat patty, thus protecting them from destruction in normal cooking. Grilling a steak, which has no chance of this family of contaminants on its inside, kills any bacteria, even if it's so rare the center of the steak is still cool. The packing plant needs to get any feces off the outside of the carcass and make sure that the internal organs don't spill onto the gutted sides of beef. As it probably isn't possible to accomplish both those requirements absolutely, some way to kill the bacteria on the trimmings would be a huge step forward. Irradiation of the trimmings would allow me to actually cook a medium-rare burger, which I would welcome. Van

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stribreadr5Sep. 15, 10 1:02 PM

I don't want their pharmaceutical poison in my food. The e-coli problem is a result of poor industry practice. Cattle don't eat corn by nature, they eat grass. Feeding them corn fattens them up, but produces an unnatural imbalance in their digestive system that fosters e-coli growth. Grass-feeding, as Nature intended, virtually eliminates the e-coli problem. Neither the industry, nor mainstream media, seems to want to tell us that. http://www.americangrassfed.org/frequently-asked-questions/#3

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pescaderoSep. 15, 10 1:59 PM

is the direct result of packing cattle into feedlots where they live in their deification and are forced to eat food that makes them sick. Then processing them by the thousands per day at a rate of hundreds per hour increasing the likelihood of contamination from the carcass coming into contact with external and internal fecal matter. It's about the condition in which they keep the animals, the food they force on them, and the rate at which they process them. All for the sake of profit. Just look at that picture at the start of the video - obese cows in horrendously crowed conditions. What you can't see is them crapping antibacterial resistant E.coli contaminated feces all over each other. That's a breeding ground for deadly illness. Vaccination and radiation aren't the way to treat bad food practices so this billion dollar business can keep its bottom line bloated. Leaving the animals on pasture and slowing the processing down so it can be watched over carefully is. It doesn't take intelligence of a Nobel Prize winning level to understand why our food is making us sick. It just takes reading skills. The information is out there about industrialized modern food processing and its dangers. Cancer is almost at a level of 50% likelihood for every person in this country. And that's just crazy.

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