New ground beef rules proposed

USDA wants to make it easier, faster to trace back contaminated beef


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed new regulations that will require stores to better trace ground beef.

"Currently there's no regulations that require those retailers to track what products and the amounts and the sources of those products that actually go into their store-ground product," explained Travis O'Quinn, Kansas State University Meat Specialist.

O'Quinn says most stores combine meat products to create the ground beef found on shelves. Now, the USDA wants them to keep records of what meat is used and where it came from. That would make it easier and faster to trace back contaminated beef-hopefully before many people eat it.

O'Quinn says the proposed regulation could lead to stores buying more pre-packaged ground beef.

"We may see more of a shift toward products coming in foam trays that are already packaged as opposed to being ground on site, just to eliminate the extra record keeping that would be require for retailers," he said.

The proposal would only affect beef and is currently open for public comment.  Find out more here.

Meantime, you can protect your family from getting sick from tainted beef, or any other contaminated meat, by always using a thermometer to check to make sure your meat is cooked to the proper temperature.

  • Ground Meat and Meat Mixtures (Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb): 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Ground Meat and Meat Mixtures (Turkey, Chicken): 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb (Steaks, Roasts, Chops): 145 degrees Fahrenheit with 3 minutes rest time
  • Poultry (Whole Chicken, Whole Turkey, Breasts, Roasts, Thighs, Legs, Wings): 165 degrees Fahrenheit

For safe minimum cooking temperatures for all meats, as well as seafood and leftovers, go to Foodsafety.gov.