Ground meat and food poisoning

There are many different causes of food poisoning, but one of the most dangerous is E. coli. E. coli is a type of bacteria. Among the E. coli are some that sometimes contaminate ground meat and can cause serious disease. Children younger than five and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. In these two groups, certain kinds of E. coli can cause kidney failure and even death.

Consumers can protect themselves with sensible food storage and cooking habits. That means COOL IT, CLEAN UP, and COOK IT.


Raw ground meat and ground poultry are more perishable than most foods — bacteria can multiply rapidly in ground meat and poultry in a temperature range between 4° C and 60° C. Keep these products cold, in a refrigerator or on ice if you’re more than an hour from the grocery store. Defrost frozen ground meats by placing them in a container that holds all the juices and letting them thaw in the refrigerator – never at room temperature. Cook or freeze ground meat within 1 to 2 days.


Wash your hands, utensils, counters, cutting boards, sponges, dish towels, aprons, and sinks in hot soapy water after handling raw meat.


Use proper cooking techniques — high heat kills harmful bacteria. Cook that burger thoroughly – until you see no pink in the meat and the coolest part of the meat reaches 74° C.