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Avoid Raw Meat and Eggs

Ground beef has been associated with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay) Ground beef has been associated with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Raw ground beef and raw eggs pose a health risk.

Don’t let foodborne illness ruin your party.

Raw meat dishes such as tartare and “tiger meat” are popular this time of year, but they can pose a health risk for a couple of reasons.

Tiger meat isn’t actually made with meat from tigers. It’s a mixture of raw ground beef, raw eggs, onions and other seasonings served on rye bread or crackers.

“Raw ground beef and raw eggs pose a health risk,” says Julie Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist.

“Try summer sausage as an alternative to tiger meat on crackers,” she advises. “Summer sausage has been processed to be safe.”

Raw ground beef has been associated with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness. For example, 13 people from eight states became ill between Aug. 8 and Oct. 22, 2019, from a strain of Salmonella likely from contaminated ground beef. Nine people were hospitalized and one died in this outbreak.

Listeria, e. coli O157:H and Campylobacter are other illness-causing bacteria that can be found in ground beef. Raw or undercooked eggs also can carry Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people, or one in six Americans, get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses.

Bacteria such as E. coli can cause severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, kidney failure, and even death. E. coli is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, children and older adults.

Thorough cooking can kill most bacteria in meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, Garden-Robinson says. To prevent illness, always cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 F.

The only way to tell if the meat reaches the right temperature is with a food thermometer. Color is not an accurate indicator that ground beef is fully cooked.

Garden-Robinson also cautions cooks not to taste dishes containing raw meat, such as meatballs or meatloaf, before cooking them thoroughly, even if you just want to taste the seasoning.

“You could be putting your families and friends at risk for foodborne illness if you serve raw or undercooked food,” Garden-Robinson says.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Jan. 29, 2020

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, 701-231-7187,
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391,
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