Ground meat is the leading cause of food poisoning. Pathogens are attributed to the surface area of highly-processed ground meat that comes from multiple animal sources. The equipment can easily be contaminated as well.
Investigative journalist Lisa Gill wrote about the dangerous bacteria found in ground meat for Consumer Reports. Ground beef, pork, turkey and chicken were all tested from 350 packages from retail stores across the country. A strain of e.coli was detected in a package of meat in the Seattle area that prompted a recall from the USDA. Gill says that the problem with ground beef is that it’s typically not cooked enough to kill the existing e.coli and bacteria.
In about a third of the samples of ground chicken, the investigation found salmonella.
Raising, processing, and packaging poultry all contribute to contamination, according to Gill. The USDA allows some salmonella to exist in processed meat which inhibits jurisdiction and oversight.
One way to avoid consuming contaminated ground meat? Grind it yourself at home and cook that burger a little longer.