It seems that it's much easier to protect yourself from tainted meat. Food Science Associate Professor and Microbiologist Catherine Cutter says even when beef is very thoroughly contaminated with a pathogen such as e. coli or salmonella, simply cooking it to a temperature of 160 degrees will kill almost all germs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a temperatures of 165 degrees for poultry, 180 degrees for a whole chicken and 170 degrees for a chicken breast. Cutter says using a meat thermometer is essential.
Rick Holland, co-owner of Holland Meat says his operation , as well as other small and large meat producers are required to develop and follow very detailed procedures at each stage of the production process to ensure that pathogens are kept out of the meat supply.
Dr. Cutter's colleague at Penn State, Food Science Associate Dr. Luke Laborde focuses on produce safety. He says since we prefer to eat many vegetables and fruits fresh, they miss what he calls a kill step. They are not heated to high enough temperatures to destroy pathogens such as e. coli and salmonella. Laborde says we must rely on growers, producers and processors to ensure that proper hygience practices are followed throughout the production process. l