Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

Myth Buster

How Do You Know Your Hamburger Is Safely Cooked?

Myth: A hamburger that has no pink inside has been cooked to a safe temperature.

Facts: In the battle against pathogens like salmonella and E. coli 0157 in poultry and meat, a cook’s only sure-fire ally is heat. Many cooks rely on color to determine whether meat is done. For hamburgers, this means looking for a brown rather than a pink or red center. That’s not a safe strategy, according to Shelley Feist, executive director ofthe nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE). “Beef can turn brown before it is cooked to the safe temperature,” says Feist, citing findings of several studies.

Federal food-safety guidelines recommend cooking hamburgers, specifically, to an internal temperature of 160 F to ensure that any potentially dangerous microbes get fried. Yet, the vast majority of consumers don’t use meat thermometers routinely, according to PFSE research.

Safety alone is reason enough to take the time to use a food thermometer when cooking meat and poultry; infections from food-borne microbes like E. coli and salmonella can result in diarrhea, brain damage and even death. But measuring meat’s temperature has a secondary benefit, too: It can help ensure great flavor. Feist says that without a thermometer, many people end up overcooking burgers and chicken in their zeal to get the pink out.


Beth Goulart is a freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social

Featured
Groups

Fat to Fit

Get tips, recipes and advice for reaching your personal weight loss goal! Join

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join