There Is No Poop in Your Burger, But Your Ground Beef Might Contain Fecal-Contaminated Bacteria

More than 80 percent of ground beef contains bacteria that causes food poisoning

Ground beef harbors five common bacteria that can cause food poisoning if it is not cooked properly.

If you like to eat your burgers cooked rare to medium-rare, you might want to pay attention to this new research.

This year, 13.5 tons of ground beef and steak were recalled just before July 4 because they were potentially tainted with E. coli — a bacteria that causes abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Consumer Reports investigated further to see what other bacteria were in ground beef.

The magazine purchased 300 packages of ground beef from 103 grocery stores across the country, including both grass-fed and antibiotic-laden beef. They analyzed these samples and found that more than 80 percent of “conventionally raised” (raised using antibiotics) ground beef contained five types of bacteria — E. coli, clostridium perfringens, salmonella, enterococcus, and staphylococcus aureus. Less than 60 percent of grass-fed beef contained these bacteria.

The study also found that conventionally raised beef had more superbug bacteria that are resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics. Only six percent of grass-fed beef contained superbugs.


It is recommended to cook ground beef to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of food poisoning.