What’s Consumer Reports Beef with Beef; finding the healthiest and safest ways to buy and prepare it.
While some of you may no longer eat beef, the truth is that hamburgers are an American dietary staple. The good old steak on the grill for many of us is something we have learned to enjoy, especially during summertime cookouts.
Most of us never question how the meat gets to the supermarket or where it comes from. Consumer Reports decided to investigate the beef industry and find out how they grow cows, process them for slaughter and then get the meat to your local butcher or supermarket.
Over the years, the commercial beef industry has used antibiotics to fatten and help grow the cows (something that may be behind our problems with obesity), substandard feed that fattens up the cattle unnaturally and toward the end of their lives, the cows are crowded in with substandard living conditions.
There is a growing movement toward natural grazing and a better experience for the cows that is more sanitary but takes twice the time to raise the animal, but is actually better for us as meat consumers. While the cost for this beef is higher, it is actually better for us, since the cows eat better, do not use antibiotics since they are not crowded in with unsanitary conditions and lead a relatively pleasant existence compared to most commercially grown beef.
Check out what Consumer reports found out here
How Safe Is Your Ground Beef?
If you don’t know how the ground beef you eat was raised, you may be putting yourself at higher risk of illness from dangerous bacteria. You okay with that?
By Andrea Rock Last updated: August 28, 2015
The American love affair with ground beef endures. We put it between buns. Tuck it inside burritos. Stir it into chili. Even as U.S. red meat consumption has dropped overall in recent years, we still bought 4.6 billion pounds of beef in grocery and big-box stores over the past year. And more of the beef we buy today is in the ground form—about 50 percent vs. 42 percent a decade ago. We like its convenience, and often its price.
The appetite persists despite solid evidence—including new test results here at Consumer Reports—that ground beef can make you seriously sick, particularly when it’s cooked at rare or medium-rare temperatures under 160° F. “Up to 28 percent of Americans eat ground beef that’s raw or undercooked,” says Hannah Gould, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All meat potentially contains bacteria that—if not destroyed by proper cooking—can cause food poisoning, but some meats are more risky than others. Beef, and especially ground beef, has a combination of qualities that can make it particularly problematic—and the consequences of eating tainted beef can be severe.
Indeed, food poisoning outbreaks and recalls of bacteria-tainted ground beef are all too frequent. Just before the July 4 holiday this year, 13.5 tons of ground beef and steak destined for restaurants and other food-service operations were recalled on a single day because of possible contamination with a dangerous bacteria known as E. coli O157:H7. That particular bacterial strain can release a toxin that damages the lining of the intestine, often leading to abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, life-threatening kidney damage. Though the contaminated meat was discovered by the meat-packing company’s inspectors before any cases of food poisoning were reported, we haven’t always been so lucky.
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