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Omnivore - Do you really want that burger cooked rare?

The New York Times reports on the widespread contamination of ground beef

At a recent lunch, a friend was complaining that it's hard to find a hamburger cooked rare in our city, despite the epidemic of new burger joints. According to the New York Times, there is very good reason for that. Today's paper includes a lengthy story in which the writer, Michael Moss, traces Upton-Sinclair-like, the hamburger whose E. coli contamination left Stephanie Smith paralyzed:

Meat companies and grocers have been barred from selling ground beef tainted by the virulent strain of E. coli known as O157:H7 since 1994, after an outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants left four children dead. Yet tens of thousands of people are still sickened annually by this pathogen, federal health officials estimate, with hamburger being the biggest culprit. Ground beef has been blamed for 16 outbreaks in the last three years alone, including the one that left Ms. Smith paralyzed from the waist down. This summer, contamination led to the recall of beef from nearly 3,000 grocers in 41 states.

Read the entire article, with its account of slaughterhouses that refuse to sell meat to companies that insist on rigorous testing,  and you'll never complain again about your hamburger being overcooked.