A graduate student found an organism in ground beef that survived for 70 minutes at 140 F°. Why is this surprising, you may ask? Most E. coli dies seconds after being exposed to temperatures that high. This means the E. coli strain was heat-resistant.
This also means the FDA’s recommendation to cook ground beef to a temperature of 160 F° might not kill all E. coli in ground beef.
Some strains of E. Coli are not harmful, but the ones that are can cause kidney failure and/or death. So it’s important to kill all E. coli in food, because getting it is no joke.
Researchers say new guidelines may need to be enacted, but for now, to continue cooking your burgers to the FDA-recommended temperature of 160 F°. The FDA also recommends always using a meat thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked thoroughly.
Curious about what temperature the FDA says you should cook other meats? Check out this guide.