Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Jul 25

Want to avoid an E.coli burger? Cook the outside AND inside to 71°C (160°F) – regardless of colour

Dr Cara Rosenbloom has warned of the dangers of eating undercooked beef

E. coli is most prevalent in minced beef and burgers, says the dietitian

This is because bacteria can be spread during grinding, so E.coli can be anywhere on the surface or the inside of the burger

She advises burgers are cooked to 71°C (160°F) inside and out to be safe

For the barbecue aficionado, cooking the perfect burger is an art form.

But as grills across the country are sparked into action this weekend, a leading dietitian has a word of warning for those brandishing the tongs.

Lurking inside your ‘perfectly cooked’ burger could be a vicious bacteria, waiting to attack your insides.

A leading dietitian has warned of the dangers of under-cooking burgers, as minced beef harbours E. coli bacteria, among the main causes of food poisoning. Dr Cara Rosenbloom, writer of the Words To Eat By blog, said: It’s vital that both the outside and the inside are cooked to a temperature of 71°C’

While the dangers of under-cooking chicken are widely known, few are aware that beef too, must be cooked to a set temperature.

Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom, writer of the Words To Eat By blog, said minced beef is one of the main carriers of E. coli, a harmful bacteria among the most common causes of food poisoning.

But, she said, spotting a burger riddled with the bacteria is difficult as the meat will smell and look normal.

The food safety expert, trained in microbiology, added: ‘While the surface of any meat can technically harbour E. coli, it is killed when you cook food at a high temperature.

‘If E. coli is on the surface of a steak, it is killed by the grill, even if the inside of the meat stays pink.

‘However, burgers made from ground beef are different. Bacteria can be spread during grinding, so E.coli can be anywhere on the surface or the inside of the burger.

‘It’s vital that both the outside and the inside are cooked to a temperature of 71°C (160°F).’

Around 90,000 cases of food poisoning are recorded each year in England and Wales.

Dr Rosenbloom said while E.coli on the surface of steaks are destroyed by the high temperature of the grill, the bacteria can coat mince during the grinding process, meaning burgers must reach 71C inside and out to be certain the bug has been destroyed


Start with clean hands, and wash often as you prepare food. This is especially vital when your ingredients include raw meat, chicken and eggs.

Understand marinade etiquette.

Step one: marinate food in the fridge.

Step two: throw out marinade that was used on raw meat or poultry – do not use it on cooked food. If the raw meat bathed in it, consider that the bacteria from the meat is now in the marinade. Toss it out and start fresh.

When taking foods off the grill, do not put cooked food items back on the same plate that held raw food, unless it has been washed with hot water and soap first.

Invest in a digital food thermometer and measure the internal temperatures:

Hamburgers – 71°C or 160 °F
Roasts and steaks – 62°C or 145 °F medium rare or 71°C 160 °F medium.
Poultry – 71°C 165 °F

However, the true figure is thought to be closer to one million, with only a minority of victims going to see the GP to give a sample and subsequently end up logged in the official statistics.

E. coli is among the most common causes of food posioning, usually caught from undercooked beef including mince and burgers.

While the bacteria can cause a person to suffer cramps and bloody diarrhoea, it can be even more dangerous for children.

Those under the age of five can develop a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.

Past studies have found food poisoning can lead to lifelong consequences.

Research has shown those caught up in food poisioning outbreaks are more likely to develop a host of long-term illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and even heart attacks and strokes.

Some, such as kidney damage, are thought to be caused by powerful poisons released by bugs.

Experts have advised that people who have survived severe food poisoning, such as that caused by the E. coli 0157 strain, undergo regular blood pressure and kidney checks.

Source: Daily Mail

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.