Is there any benefits to grinding meat at home regarding safety? From my understanding, the reason a cut of meat can be cooked rare is that the outside ,which may be contaminated, gets cooked fully. Whereas with ground meat, there is no "outside", so it is always recommended to cook to 160. I could pick the cut of meat to grind. Are certain beef cuts (maybe away from internal organs) considered lower risk with regards to E.Coli and other contamination?

3 Answers 3


I will disagree with the other answer for one simple reason -- the fewer steps taken en masse, the lower the risk.

Now of course, this assumes that you're correctly cleaning your grinder, but because you're only grinding one chunk, or maybe a few chunks of meat, you only have to worry if those chunks of meat had contamination.

For a larger operation, every piece of meat that came before it since the grinder was last thoroughly cleaned could possibly contaminate the ground meat that you've purchased.

This of course assumes that the large cut of meat hasn't already been infected because of the butchering or some other earlier processing step. (such as if many butchers are then feeding into a single grinder).

Now, is the change in risk enough to worry about? Probably not, but it exists, however slightly. If you want to be really paranoid, sear the outside of a roast, then trim them off, then grind what's left. But of course, if your grinder isn't sterile, you're just shooting yourself in the foot.

  • So if you make ground beef rarely and thoroughly clean equipment, it is more likely than not to be safer than store? Dec 14, 2018 at 1:00
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    @aaaaaa : if you make sure that your grinder and kitchen are clean, then it's slightly safer because you don't have the issues with pooling. Say there's one in a million chance of a cow having something bad (I have no clue what it really is) ... and they process 10 cows at a time ... then your chances are between 1:1M (first cow) and 10:1M (last cow processed), which averages out to 5.5:1M, or more than 5 times when it was for one cow at a time. This is the sort of reason why when something goes wrong at a plant, they have to recall thousands of pounds of meat
    – Joe
    Dec 14, 2018 at 1:12

No, it doesn't matter who makes the ground beef. The previous "outside" contaiminates all exposed surfaces in the grinder. So you get no "free pass" for grinding it yourself.

It is also not related to the cut of beef. They are all exposed to the same environment in the butcher shop, sluiced with the same water, etc., and they are all at the same level of contamination.

And as a general rule, food safety rules are meant to be followed very literally. If under some circumstances the rule does not apply, they will tell you about it right in the list of rules. When they don't say anything, you have to see it as "no exceptions".

  • How do restaurants make steak tartare then? Surely the outside would contaminate the inside just as much as in a home kitchen, but it's common in many places.
    – Chris H
    Dec 19, 2018 at 6:57
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    @ChrisH The idea is that it's served almost immediately after being ground up, so the bacteria won't have tine to reproduce and reach dangerous concentrations.
    – user141592
    Dec 19, 2018 at 9:00
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    @Johanna I believe that to be true, but this answer gives a blanket "no" without mentioning the time aspect at all, while the existence of steak tartare demonstrates there's more to it than that.
    – Chris H
    Dec 19, 2018 at 9:26
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    @ChrisH the point of my answer was that there is no way to "sneak around" safety standards by grinding at home. It is not about discussing when ground meat is "safe" in the sense of "safe enough", it is about saying that whatever safety level storebought ground meat has, then homeground will have the safety level, ceteris paribus. Whether you eat your meat raw, or cooked soon, or cooked later, is irrelevant to the point I was making.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:28
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    @rumtscho if that's the point you want to make then fair enough - I don't agree, especially with your assumptions, but I see it's a valid position to take. There are approaches like "sear and shave" used to deal with surface contamination (some debate over how good, must be very controlled), and it's possible to obtain cuts of meat with more testing and traceability than typical. Neither is possible for ready-ground meat.
    – Chris H
    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:41

They eat chicken sashimi in Japan! If you search for rare burgers in you will see that the food standards agency in the uk released guide for catering establishments Worthing to serve rate burgers.

The key is sourcing from a farm that specifically supplies meat for raw or rare consumption. Such as stake tartar or beef carpaccio.

Your gut is absolutely teaming with e.coli so it’s unlikley that you will get sick from common strains. Strains like O157 / shiga like toxin that can cause kidney failure are another matter. These can be tested for in cattle to help minimise the risk.

  • I need a citation for Your gut is absolutely teaming with E.coli
    – Summer
    Dec 19, 2018 at 6:11
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    @bruglesco CDC "Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are bacteria found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals" [emph mine]. But the fact that they're present in the lower gut doesn't say much about what they'll do if ingested so they end up in other parts of the body. The mere existence of the term fecal-oral route (of infection) should be enough to give anyone pause for thought
    – Chris H
    Dec 19, 2018 at 9:41
  • Other countries (not the US) inoculate their chickens against salmonella. So in Japan, raw egg isn't as risky as it is here in the US. I would assume the same would be true for raw chicken meat, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to accept that risk.
    – Joe
    Apr 7, 2020 at 19:02

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