In testing 300 packages of ground beef from grocery stores, big box stores, and natural food stores nationwide, Consumer Reports found some disturbing results. Regardless of whether the beef came from conventional farms or was labeled antibiotic-free, organic, or grass-fed, all 458 pounds had been contaminated with enterococcus or E. Coli bacteria.
More specifically, one-fifth of the beef contained C. perfringens, a bacteria linked to food poisoning, while 10 percent contained S. aureus. One percent, meanwhile, contained salmonella. Conventionally raised beef was more likely to contain bacteria and superbugs, which are immune to heavy doses of antibiotics.
Though you can never guarantee you’ll get a bacteria-free burger at the grocery store, Consumer Reports recommends buying meat labeled as “grass-fed” or “organic,” as those cows are not treated with antibiotics and tend to have healthier diets in general.
At home, make sure the raw meat doesn’t touch other foods on the counter, and constantly wash your hands, especially before cooking with other ingredients. Finally, make sure to cook your burgers to medium temperature or 160° F in order to kill most bacteria. A bad stomach bug—or worse—just isn’t worth it for juicier meat.