First, there were ground beef recalls. Now, there are E. coli outbreaks. Make sure to cook your meat all the way through.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that an E. coli 0103 outbreak that has affected 190 people with food poisoning across six states is due to tainted ground beef.
States affected include Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia, and no specific brand of ground beef has been specified at this time. Affected consumers ate the ground beef in restaurants and at home. A total of 17 people have been hospitalized due to food poisoning, but no deaths have been reported.
The CDC is stating that it is still safe to consume ground beef if it's cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees or well-done. Check out this chart to determine if your meat is cooked properly. It must be cooked thoroughly in order to kill all germs -- otherwise it is not safe to consume.
Courtesy of USDA
There is an ongoing investigation being done by the CDC to determine the cause of the outbreak, and they will release more information when it is obtained.
The illness reports began back on March 2 and have increased since then. You can monitor where cases have popped up on the Map of Reported Cases here. Also, check out the CDC's food thermometer for recommendations on how to cook meat.
Tips for Handling and Keeping Meat
To avoid any other possible contaminations, store your ground beef away from other foods, wash hands before and after handling the beef, and wash all used countertops, cutting boards, plates, and utensils with hot, soapy water or a bleach solution. The CDC is not recommending tossing out ground beef and is urging restaurants to continue serving the meat. As long as meat is properly handled and cooked to temperature, it should be fine. But if, for any reason, you do not feel safe consuming the ground beef, dispose of it properly.
Symptoms of food poisoning due to E. coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, usually lasting 5-7 days.
Have you eaten undercooked ground beef recently? Are you going to continue eating the product or toss it out? Tell us in the comments.