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#1 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 03:46 PM

Gosh, you are all a suggestible bunch, aren't ya? :P

OK, I have a confession to make: I've never knowingly eaten a hamburger that was not well done.

I'm a little worried about dying of E. coli poisoning. :blink: How do I minimize this risk?

I know that using store-bought pre-ground beef is a bad idea. Is there anything else I need to worry about? Are other cuts of grocery store-grade beef a risk? I have a grinder at home, so I can grind it "to order," so to speak.

And if I can't get brisket, what's my next best choice?

Edited by Matthew Kayahara, 10 May 2007 - 03:47 PM.

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#2 Corgi Man

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 04:25 PM

Matthew,

I don't know about Canada, but if memory serves me correctly most if not all of the US E.coli incidents have been at burger chain restaurants and large quantity frozen purchasers like cafeterias, etc.. As for the super-market here in my block most ground meats are done fresh each morning or at the earliest the night before and my butcher at Esposito's makes it to order.
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Pease pudding and saveloy! / What next is the question?
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#3 Guest_pixelchef_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:07 PM

I'm sorry, but I worry far more about being in a car accident, or shot in cold blood by some psycho on the street than I do about catching E.Coli from a medium-rare burger. Beef guidelines, like most government guidelines are created to a cover-your-ass-extreme. From 1996 to 2004, cases of E.Coli from eating beef have DECREASED by a whopping 46 percent, while the consumption of rare beef products has increased 63 percent. These numbers are typically due to incredible improvements made to beef processing technology and safety / health-testing practices.

Do you also drive 100kmph on the 401 (for those in Ontario) because the government suggests you do? I'm willing to bet not. I'm willing to bet you flirt with disaster and get your Kia Spectre humming along at 110. :)

Edit: Corgi is a wise man.

Edited by pixelchef, 10 May 2007 - 07:07 PM.


#4 Guest_rocler_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:14 PM

it has always been my understanding that e-coli is only found in ground meats, and not steaks etc, and that it is passed thru the grinder not being cleaned properly, am i incorrect in this information?

#5 Corgi Man

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:29 PM

it has always been my understanding that e-coli is only found in ground meats, and not steaks etc, and that it is passed thru the grinder not being cleaned properly, am i incorrect in this information?


"E.coli bacteria spread in contaminated food including raw fruits and vegetables, raw seafood, and unpasteurized dairy products and in contaminated water." The Mayo Clinic

Contaminated water is what made the big spinach recall in the US. And it couldn't be washed off. It was in the very water that the plants consumed.
Food, glorious food! / Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood -- / Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloy! / What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys -- / In-di-gestion!


Lionel Bart - OLIVER!

#6 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:31 PM

Well! It seems I've hit a nerve here with my E. coli question...

I understand that the government guidelines are really overprotective, but I'm still not entirely willing to take the risk with store-bought ground beef, given that that's where the bacterium tends to be found, if I'm not mistaken. (And there's no way my local hypersupermegamart grinds their beef fresh every morning.) I have no problem grinding my own; it'll help me convey to my husband in no uncertain terms why I needed to get a meat grinder. :D

You've all convinced me! I'll be trying an undercooked burger as soon as I can get my hot little hands on some fresh beef.

Oh, and having been a driver for only a single year, I don't actually drive on the 401 at all, if I can help it... ;)
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"A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion."
-Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

#7 Guest_rocler_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:33 PM

i realized that, but i am referring to how it is spread in ground meat, and supposidly it only is found in ground meat, i have always understood

#8 Marlene

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:44 PM

Well! It seems I've hit a nerve here with my E. coli question...

I understand that the government guidelines are really overprotective, but I'm still not entirely willing to take the risk with store-bought ground beef, given that that's where the bacterium tends to be found, if I'm not mistaken. (And there's no way my local hypersupermegamart grinds their beef fresh every morning.) I have no problem grinding my own; it'll help me convey to my husband in no uncertain terms why I needed to get a meat grinder. :D

You've all convinced me! I'll be trying an undercooked burger as soon as I can get my hot little hands on some fresh beef.

Oh, and having been a driver for only a single year, I don't actually drive on the 401 at all, if I can help it... ;)



That's ok Matthew. I think you were right to ask the question. We don't learn if we don't ask, and I submit there are never any stupid questions, just ones other people wished they had asked. I was pretty cautious about it as well, and no Pix, I don't speed. Ask Jake, she''ll tell you. :D and I still don't go past medium for burgers. Call me a heretic!
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#9 Corgi Man

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:47 PM

i realized that, but i am referring to how it is spread in ground meat, and supposidly it only is found in ground meat, i have always understood


I see what you are talking about in the USDA statement, but it's more complicated than that.

"E. coli O157:H7 contamination

E. coli O157:H7 bacteria is believed to mostly live in the intestines of cattle,[14] but has also been found in the intestines of chickens, deer, sheep, and pigs. E. coli O157:H7 does not make the animals that carry it ill; the animals are merely the reservoir for the bacteria.

Meat typically becomes contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 during the slaughtering process, when the contents of an animal's intestines and feces are allowed to come into contact with the carcass."

It goes on to say that grinding complicates matters because the bacteria that was only on the surface of the meat gets mixed internally and must be cooked completely through and through to kill the bacteria.

Being that the bacteria is on the surface of the meat that you're grinding, it's not the grinder that's the problem, it's the particular infected meat that you're grinding.

EDITED TO ADD: And yes, if you've ground bad meat, you probably pass it on to the next meat you grind if the grinder hasn't been sufficiently cleaned.

Edited by Corgi Man, 10 May 2007 - 07:55 PM.

Food, glorious food! / Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood -- / Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloy! / What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys -- / In-di-gestion!


Lionel Bart - OLIVER!

#10 Guest_rocler_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:54 PM

exactly, but it gets passed along through the grinder and this is why the recommendation to not eat rare or meduim ground meat. once a year we get a pamphlet from the government telling us under no circumstances are we to let any employees send out rare or med cooked burgers no matter what the customer asks. they do not talk about any other cuts of meat, only ground meat.

#11 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:03 PM

I know I'm heading off-topic here, but it's interesting to note that E. coli O157:H7 was a strain of the bacterium that developed when we stopped feeding cows grass and started feeding them grain. See here or Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma for more information.
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"A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion."
-Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

#12 Guest_pixelchef_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:15 PM

Honestly, I talk out of my ass a lot. I don't know all the details (other than what I stated above), and I'm certainly no professional when it comes to either cooking, or food safety. I just truly believe that food is one of life's great joys, and that it should be enjoyed however you are most comfortable doing that. If you enjoy a burger cooked well-done, then by all means, cook it well-done!

I personally do not. And in weight the "risks" involved, I've determined that for me, eating a burger medium-rare isn't something I'm prepared to lose sleep over given the increased joy it brings me while eating it. I believe it to be a good trade-off. In my young life thus far, I've had the misfortune of realizing that there are FAR greater things to focus on worrying about than the burger on my plate, which I plan to make certain I enjoy, because I can control it.

Basically, my energy is best used worrying about other things, in my very humble opinion. Believe me when I say, life is far too precious, and far too short to worry about a hamburger. Let your hair down a bit, drive 5 mph over the speed limit, leave a bit of pink in your pork! Shit, go crazy, wear a white t-shirt the day after labour day! :o

#13 James

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:24 PM

exactly, but it gets passed along through the grinder and this is why the recommendation to not eat rare or meduim ground meat. once a year we get a pamphlet from the government telling us under no circumstances are we to let any employees send out rare or med cooked burgers no matter what the customer asks. they do not talk about any other cuts of meat, only ground meat.

So Steak Tartare 'could' be OK if chopped on a sanitary board with a clean knife, if it comes from an uncontaminated piece of flesh. But the problem with ground beef is that one smidgeon of contaminated beef gets mixed with literally a ton of other ground beef. This is also what happens with BSE (mad cow). Every supermarket will use frozen ground beef from the west, or Australia, to augment their ground scraps. And it could be good, or occasionally unsafe. Costco has had some major recalls of ground beef, from their supplier Cargill.
If your use of ground beef is sparing, it would be safer to buy from a butcher who can tell you the source, and keep the equipment clean.
And, Matt, a food processor is great for a medium-coarse grind from front quarter beef.
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#14 Guest_rocler_*

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:31 PM

pixel that is fair enough, you want to eat med rare, but the day you have the misfoutune to come down with a case of e-coli poisioning, i hope you will be around to describle all the suffering you went thru. there is alot of reports and paper work done on this subject, by people that have graduated with degrees and are more knowledgeable in this field than we are , and maybe in your young age you should heed the warning :P

#15 Marlene

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:06 PM

It seems to me that raw ingredients might be the right place to start a topic on food safety. Have at each other nicely, now, ya hear? :D
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#16 Marlene

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:14 PM

I'm going to say that e coli also can appear in water. I say that only because we had to have our well water tested as part of the cottage purchase and the ministry report came back and very specifically indicated there was no e-coli in the water. Also there was a case here in Ontario a few years ago, of a whole town getting sick because of e-coli in the water.
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#17 Marlene

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:16 PM

pixel that is fair enough, you want to eat med rare, but the day you have the misfoutune to come down with a case of e-coli poisioning, i hope you will be around to describle all the suffering you went thru. there is alot of reports and paper work done on this subject, by people that have graduated with degrees and are more knowledgeable in this field than we are , and maybe in your young age you should heed the warning :P



Absolutely, although at the same time, I hear where Pix is coming from. You are a professional chef, and of course need to make sure you are taking every precaution for your clientele. I'd wager a bet that many of us at home regularly do things like defrosting meat unsafely and other things that would never go down in a professional kitchen.

Having said that, I ain't eating no pink pork. :P
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#18 James

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:32 PM

I'm going to say that e coli also can appear in water. I say that only because we had to have our well water tested as part of the cottage purchase and the ministry report came back and very specifically indicated there was no e-coli in the water. Also there was a case here in Ontario a few years ago, of a whole town getting sick because of e-coli in the water.

Water is usually safe from e coli due to chlorinaton procedures. You may not have that option at a cottage, so a yearly test has to be done.

The source for the widespread sickness from municipal water in Walkerton, Ont., was cattle manure near a well, and local staff who ignored safe testing of water samples. It comes down to cattle feces in water, just as the same might get into a beef supply chain.
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#19 Jake

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 08:17 AM

Wow, look what happened last night whilst I was away!!

Having spent a lot of time in both professional, catering and home kitchens I am fairly familiar with the Canadian guidelines. And I'll repeat the point made earlier, they are as stringent as possible to try and protect everyone, including the providers from potential lawsuits!

I buy my beef from a reputable butcher, ground, and cook my burgers to medium rare. But hey, i've also cooked store bought ground beef to medium rare too. A personal choice yes, but also an informed one based on the statistical probability of e.Coli contamination. Ordering a burger medium rare? Sure, I do it. In most cases to no avail, as like Rocler, many establishments refuse to serve it that way. For many reasons, personal choice is not a possibility with governments these days, it's all or nothing.

Let's look at unpasturized cheese. Not that long ago, especially in Ontario, you couldn't obtain that either, even though Quebec produces some of the best raw milk cheeses in this, or any other, country. I won't go into unpasturized milk!

So, Matthew, go to a reputable butcher and have him grind some beef for you. Or grind your own (but do clean the grinder well) and try it. Handled properly the risk is minimal at best.

Let's be honest here, every time someone orders a meal in a restaurant or for take away there is an element of risk. Yes, most establishments practice food safety, but all it takes is ONE contaminated board, utensil, surface used improperly by ONE person. It happens. Trust me. I don't claim to have any degrees in this subject, so no offence to anyone, just my personal thoughts.
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#20 Guest_Gordon_*

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:55 AM

Personally, I love E Coli fried in a light tempura batter with sweet chili sauce. It's one of my favorite snacks.




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