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    Infectious Diseases A-Z: Know your hamburger basics for a safe holiday

cooked hamburger patty on a bunAre you planning on firing up the barbecue grill this Memorial Day? Know your hamburger basics before serving up your favorite burger. One guest you don't want to this holiday is E.coli, which is often linked to contaminated, undercooked ground beef. Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "When you think about ground beef, you are taking a piece of highly contaminated meat on the outside and when you grind it, suddenly the contaminated outside becomes inside, as well."

Watch: Dr. Pritish Tosh discusses ground beef.

Cook it well, and wash your hands

"Ground beef has bacteria throughout it, and that's why it is recommended that hamburger be cooked until well-done or 160 degrees Fahrenheit, says Dr. Tosh. "And be careful about cross-contamination. Raw meat needs to be carefully handled. Anything that has touched that raw meat should be considered contaminated, including your hands," adds Dr. Tosh.

What temperatures should you grill meat? Here's what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • 145 degrees Fahrenheit 151 ─ whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
  • 145 degrees  Fahrenheit ─ fish
  • 160 degrees Fahrenheit ─ hamburgers and other ground beef
  • 165 degrees Fahrenheit ─ all poultry and pre-cooked meats, such as hot dogs

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