4

Rare Opportunity Missed: Irradiated Burgers

Rare hamburgers are considered dangerous by food safety experts. You can take your own chances with a burger cooked medium-rare, but you better think twice before you serve any burger cooked to less than 160 degrees F to others, as I was recently warned by microbiologist. When I said I thought it was okay because I ground my own beef, she laughed and asked me how often I sterilized my meat grinder and what kind of bleach solution I used on my cutting board.

I was about to give up, until she mentioned irradiated ground beef. If you buy irradiated ground beef and don't contaminate it, you could eat a rare burger safely, she said. So where do you find irradiated ground beef in Houston?

Remember Schwan's? I wrote off Schwan's home delivery service and their mediocre meat years ago. Turns out their ground beef is irradiated (see the spooky symbol). I had some delivered and was all set to recommend Schwan's irradiated ground beef to rare burger lovers -- until I read the back of the package. A warning tells consumers not to eat the ground beef, irradiated or not, unless it has been cooked to the burnt-to-a-crisp temperature of 165 degrees F. The warning is new, a company rep told me on the phone. It's a legal thing, she said.

I can't very well tell you Schwan's burgers are safe to eat rare, when their lawyers insist otherwise. But if you are serving burgers to an attorney this summer, I recommend you cook them to 190 degree F, and serve them on blackened buns slathered with Purell -- just to be on the safe side.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send: