Kate Taylor for Business Insider – Food-poisoning expert reveals 6 foods he refuses to eat:
4. Rare meat.
Sorry, chefs: Marler isn’t going to order his steaks any rarer than medium-well. According to the expert, meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout to kill bacteria that could cause E. coli or salmonella.
The problem with the food safety guidelines is that the time is generally not considered, only temperature. And whether the bacteria are killed or not is dependent on both – the reason why low-temperature cooking can be very safe.
See Douglas Baldwin’s discussion on sous vide cooking safety.
Pasteurization is a combination of both temperature and time. Consider the common food pathogen Salmonella species. At 140°F (60°C), all the Salmonella in a piece of ground beef doesn’t instantly die – it is reduced by a factor ten every 5.48 minutes (Juneja et al., 2001).
Thus over a certain amount of time at a given temperature, the amount of harmful Salmonella in the food can be reduced to a safe level.