Should consumers worry about the safety of their ground beef? Of course not. Here are the facts.
At 27 weeks pregnant, my husband and I have flipped through plenty of books on healthy pregnancies, deliveries and names. One of those books written for the soon-to-be daddy is entitled “How To Make A Pregnant Woman Happy.” Authored by Uzzi Reiss, MD, and Yfat Reiss, the book had us both raising an eyebrow at the advice offered about beef in the diet section.
According to the book, as a pregnant woman, I should be extremely worried about the safety of ground beef.
Here is the advice the book gives to dads: “Often ground meat has been produced from the meat of numerous animals, increasing the chance of exposure to disease. If she must have a hamburger, buy a single piece of meat and ask your butcher to grind it.”
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While this was just a small blurb in an otherwise fun book, I thought it was worth debunking the myths presented in this paragraph.
Myth: Ground beef is contaminated because it’s made from hundreds of animals. False.
Factsaboutbeef.com just released a new blog post on this topic entitled, “There Is Meat From 100 Cows In My Hamburger, So There Will Be No Ground Beef In My Fridge.”
The blog debunks that misconception about ground beef, and I think it’s worth sharing
Here is an excerpt: “All ground beef trim must meet stringent food safety guidelines set forth by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, therefore the number of cows whose lean trim is used doesn’t represent the safety of your food. Ground beef, commonly used in hamburgers and tacos, is made from beef trim that results when steaks and roasts are cut. In order to get the right mix of lean to fat, processors combine trim from a number of different animals.
“Our food system comprises various sources. A carton of milk contains milk from a number of different cows. A glass of orange juice contains juice from a number of different oranges, and a loaf of bread contains wheat from many different acres of a wheat field. However, the USDA food safety procedures that our food supply undergoes, including ground beef, help prevent any harm to consumers and you can be confident in the safety of your ground beef.”
Myth: Only locally processed and prepared beef is safe. Meat from a major packer is probably contaminated. False.
Buying local may be the hip thing right now, but that doesn’t mean conventionally raised and processed meats aren’t safe and healthy to eat. While beef recalls in the news may have some consumers wary about the safety of their meat, most food-borne illnesses can be avoided by the consumer in the kitchen.
Explorebeef.org is another great resource for debunking beef myths. Here is what the site has to say about the strict testing that beef undergoes in packing plants to be safe, plus how practicing food safety in the kitchen can avoid food-borne illness:
“Rigorous testing and inspection ensures that the beef industry distributes only the safest food to the public. Nonetheless, it is important for those who prepare food — either at home or in restaurants— to know the proper cooking techniques to ensure optimal safety.
“The four keys to proper preparation of beef include: properly refrigerate beef until time of preparation; prepare beef on a clean work surface; test the internal temperature of beef as it cooks; and store and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.”
Please help me pass along this important information to our beef-loving friends on social media. Also, what other myths and misconceptions are you seeing out there? Send me your thoughts, and I will do my best to write follow-up blog posts to counteract these myths. Thanks for your help!
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