I'm no expert so don't risk your health based on what I say. There are two threats in raw or spoiled food - pathogens (bacteria and fungi mostly) and the toxins they produce. Cooking food kills pathogens but usually cannot destroy toxins. So cooking does not make spoiled food safe because the toxins are already there and it's too late.
If the food hasn't spoiled or expired yet, and so there aren't a lot of toxins built up yet, you still need to kill the pathogens so they can't hurt you after you eat them. High temps will kill them. As an interesting note, the recommended temperatures are what is required to kill bacteria instantly. They will still die at lower temperatures, but slowly. You can plot a graph of temperature vs time to make things safe to eat. For chicken, for example, 165 will kill everything in just a few seconds. But you can actually hold it at 160 or 155 for long enough to make it safe as well. I once ate sous vide chicken that was cooked at 145 and it was fine, but you need to hold that temperature for about 90 minutes to make it safe.
Remember that cooking doesn't completely sterilize anything. If you leave cooked meat out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you're risking the bacteria recolonizing it and making it unsafe again. I did recently eat some turkey chili that I accidentally left out on the counter overnight and I was fine (I boiled the hell out of it first) but most people would advise against that.
Also remember ground meat needs to be cooked through completely. Most bacteria live on the surface, so searing a steak is usually enough to make it safe, but grinding mixes the bacteria into it so it needs a high temp all the way through.