“There’s no way to tell by looking at a package of meat, or smelling it, whether it has harmful bacteria or not,” warns Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Food Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “You have to be on guard every time.”

Superbugs are illness-inducing bacterial organisms. They aren’t easily controlled with medicine, and they contribute to food contamination and food poisoning. Contamination seems to happen most in ground beef, with 80 reports of E coli outbreaks occurring between 2003 and 2013. The CDC suspects many more incidents were not reported. Salmonella also causes a great deal of illness, as well.

Poorly prepared or undercooked meats are the main causes of outbreaks. In addition, the beef itself is problematic. Cattle are fattened up with grain and soy, fed antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease, and essentially become the vehicle for disease-resistant bacteria.

Is there any way to protect yourself?

Yes. Take the following measures:

Eat less meat. There are health benefits to eating more plant-based meals. Furthermore, the cost to the environment by producing beef is mitigated.

Eat organic meat. If you want to continue eating ground beef, choose organically-raised cattle.  Generally, grass-fed animals are not fed growth hormones or antibiotics, and produce half the superbugs of their conventionally-raised counterparts.

Eat meat free of hormones and antibiotics. Some cattle producers, while not raising their animals organically, claim that they don’t use hormones and antibiotics. Validate cattle producer claims that antibiotics and hormones are not used, before making your purchases.

Cook ground beef well. Cook ground beef until it is well done. Do not eat rare or medium rare burgers, or meat dishes.

Keep it clean. Avoid contamination and cross contamination. Prepare meat only in and on surfaces that may be washed in hot soapy water. Wear an apron. Then scrub your hands thoroughly when you are done with food prep.

Read the full article here: Watch Out! You May Be Eating Superbugs With Your Burger