Originally Posted by creekwalker
The USDA now lists 158* as the target for virtually complete lethality for pathogens in beef. (165* is for dark meat poultry.) But what that means is that all pathogens will die instantly at 158*. The same result can be achieved at lower internal temps if a lower temp is held for long enough. As an example, the USDA says that if the center of the meat is at 140* or above for at least 12 minutes, the beef will be pasteurized.
By the way, the special problem with ground beef can be avoided altogether by people grinding their own meat, if they first pasteurize the outside of the piece to be ground by dipping it in boiling water for 12 seconds.
Absolutely! The baddies are on the meat surface, but do make sure your tools are sterile as you don't want to introduce more during the grinding process. Another option is to get irradiated ground beef if you can find it.
Just want to add that you generally want to let a thick hunk of meat set for 20+ minutes after cooking (I'm assuming a big meatloaf). This will make the temperature equilibrate and prevent all the juices from running out when you slice it. I tend to find that the IT increases by at least 10* during 20-30 minutes. I'll let you interpret this as you like.
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