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Basics about Beef - 6

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Is a rare steak safe to eat?
USDA recommends not eating or tasting raw or undercooked meat or poultry. It is safe to eat steak cooked to 145 °F. Meat and poultry may contain harmful bacteria. Thorough cooking is important to kill any bacteria and viruses that may be present in the food. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles and other food. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Ground meats and pork should be cooked to 160 °F.

Can I refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked hamburgers?
If ground beef is refrigerated promptly after cooking (within 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F), it can be safely refrigerated for about 3 or 4 days. If frozen, it should keep its quality for about 4 months. When reheating fully cooked patties or casseroles containing ground beef, be sure the internal temperature reaches 165 °F or it is hot and steaming

Are microwaved hamburgers safe?
It is safe to cook hamburger patties in the microwave if cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Since microwaves may not cook food as evenly as conventional methods, covering hamburgers while cooking will help them heat more evenly. Turn each patty over and rotate midway through cooking. Allow patties to stand 1 or 2 minutes to complete cooking. Then use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 160 °F.

How much ham should you buy per person?
Estimate the amount needed according to the number of servings that the type of ham yields on average: Boneless: 1/4 to 1/3 lb. per serving; Semi-boneless: 1/3 - 1/2 lb. per serving; Large bone in: 3/4 - 1 lb. per serving. See a fact sheet titled Ham and Food Safety.

Are milk and meat from bST-supplemented cows safe?
Yes. Extensive studies of the safety of bST have been conducted world-wide and reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA concluded that both milk and meat are safe. A separate review of the data has been conducted by the National Institute of Health, the World Health Organization, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, and reviews by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association all independently have arrived at the same conclusion, milk and meat from bST supplemented cows are safe. In addition, regulatory agencies from countries around the world have reached the same conclusion, milk and meat from bST supplemented cows are safe. For more information, visit FDA's Web site

Should we test all cattle for mad cow disease?
Under the enhanced surveillance program, sampling 201,000 animals would allow USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to detect Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) at the rate of 1 positive in 10 million adult cattle at a 95 percent confidence level assuming that all of the positives are in the targeted high-risk population. See BSE Testing Information from the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

What is the most current information on BSE?
For the most updated information on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), visit the Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS') BSE Resources.

Can Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-be transmitted from one cow to another cow?
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is not a contagious disease. There is no evidence that the disease is transmitted through direct contact or animal-to-animal spread.

Will irradiation kill the BSE agent?
Current scientific research indicates that irradiation will not kill the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) agent.

Do cattle get BSE from feed?
There is no evidence that the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) disease is transmitted through direct contact or animal-to-animal spread. The primary means by which animals become infected is through consumption of feed contaminated with the infectious BSE agent. Regarding feeding practices, it is known that cattle can become infected with BSE by eating feed contaminated with the infectious BSE agent. This is why in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the use of most mammalian (for example, cattle) protein in the manufacture of animal feed intended for cattle and other ruminants. The ban was expanded on January 2004 to eliminate the present exemption in the feed rule that allows mammalian blood and blood products to be fed to other ruminants as a protein source. For additional information on the feed ban, visit FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Is it safe to eat meat because of mad cow?
There are still a number of unknowns regarding the origin and transmission of BSE. Given these scientific uncertainties, we cannot assure zero risk from Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). However, we can and will continue to monitor new scientific findings and world events and adjust our regulations and policies to keep the risk of BSE infecting the national herd as low as possible.

What clinical signs a positive BSE cow shows?
Cattle affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)  experience progressive degeneration of the nervous system. Affected animals might display changes in temperament, such as nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, incoordination and difficulty in rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite.

How do we find the origin of an animal that had inconclusive results for BSE?
Because of the possibility that inconclusive results could be confirmed as negative after further testing, information about such an animal and its origin is not disclosed until such time that a test comes back positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). For the most updated information on BSE, visit the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, BSE Web page

What are bull fries?
Bull fries, also called mountain oysters, are bull testicles.

What is flatiron steak?
Flatiron steak is a shoulder top blade steak cut from the chuck section of the carcass. In the past, it was best known as part of a chuck pot roast. The flatiron lends itself to grilling, broiling and pan frying. For maximum tenderness, cook it slowly, as in stewing or braising.

What is marbling?
Marbling is white flecks of fat within the meat muscle. The greater amount of marbling in beef, the higher the grade, because marbling makes beef more tender, flavorful, and juicy.

What is corning?
Corning is a form of curing; it has nothing to do with corn. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration. In those days, the meat was dry-cured in coarse corns of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today brining -- the use of salt water -- has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name corned beef is still used, rather than brined or pickled beef. Commonly used spices that give corned beef its distinctive flavor are peppercorns and bay leaf. Of course, these spices may vary regionally. For more information on Corned beef visit the FSIS web site fact sheet Focus on Corned Beef

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