6

votes

Would salt and vinegar negate any nasties found in raw ground beef?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 19, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Would salt and vinegar negate any nasties found in raw ground beef?

I've acquired a taste for raw grass-fed ground beef. I make a mishmosh of 1 pound of beef with salt, a lot of seasonings, diced onion, and minced garlic. Then after considering safety, I tried adding a slash of apple cider vinegar, which makes it taste even better. I'm thinking the vinegar would also help with the safety of the beef.

EDIT: To address a couple points brought up below, the meat I use has been frozen and I get it from a local source. I've visited the farm and the processor and spoke with the parties involved. E-coli doesn't care that I met the butcher, but I wanted to give some background.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on May 14, 2012
at 02:36 AM

the freezing is for parasites, not bacteria

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 08, 2012
at 02:09 AM

hmm yeah I assumed they were grinding their own. or at the very least having someone grind cuts for them after seeing tehir operation. My bad

E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Todd, I might be in love with you.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:17 AM

Okay, I agree with your statement here, I just didn't agree with "raw meat is completely safe" statement in the first sentence, because there should be a big "IF" following. Contamination happens so easily, which is why it's important to use a combination of skill, care, and quality control to ensure maximum safety. This guys talking about eating ground beef that is pre-ground, so I think it's totally different. I grind my own for any raw purposes, and I think it's just basic safety to do so. Just eating any old pre-ground raw beef is going to up your risk significantly.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:55 PM

Yes I have as a matter of fact. Sourcing meat from a good place isn't good enough. Knowing your butcher/rancher can be. Even if the intestines are punctured (which isn't likely especially with more experience) that shouldn't contaminate the cuts of meat you should use for beef grinding anyway. Also the meat should be cleaned anyway. I was a chef for 15 years in which 12 of them I butchered my own meats (granted I usually only had to work with the primal cut). I certainly don't think it is impossible but it is veryrare. Much like force feeding us grains the media has made us terrified of meat.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Um, have you ever butchered an animal yourself? It is so, so easy to puncture the intestine, and while good butchers avoid this it happens occasionally. E coli can be from handling after butchering, sanitation practices, incorrect transport (temp is key), and many other things. While I eat a fair amount of raw meat myself, I think it's naive to think that just because you source your meat from a good place that it is "impossible" for it to be contaminated.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 03, 2012
at 04:38 AM

According to Food Inc. grass fed beef doesn't harbor the acid resistant strains of E.coli that are the problem in CAFO beef, so even if there is a slip up in processing that results in fecal contamination of the meat (and you are a reasonably healthy person) it might give you diarrhea, but it won't kill you.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:48 PM

E coli survives in seawater.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Good point on pH, specifcally basic pHs. There's no many caustic environments out there, acid is much more common and most are well adapted to dealing with it.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Yummy! I'd totally eat this!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:51 PM

The organic acids they mention are some of the components in cattle stomachs, which are full of bacteria. Sulfuric acid is a whole other story.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:48 PM

Big difference between liver and ground muscle meat. Any contamination on the liver is on the surface. Those bacteria are going to be the most susceptible to death by freezing. Muscle meat on the other hand has all its surface area mixed throughout the grind and thus bacteria in the middle will be more protected than those that end up on the surface.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Freezing bacteria in glycerol works because glycerol is a cryoprotectant, it reduces the microcrystalization of water causes cell damage.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:44 PM

A grass-fed cow and a CAFO cow can be butchered in the same exact way. Both or neither can be contaminated with bacteria from fecal matter, both cows are going to have pathogenic bacteria present.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 02, 2012
at 01:06 PM

i store all my bacteria sample in a glycerol solution frozen at -20 fahrenheit. for years and have no trouble regrowing them. you must be doing something wrong. i also notive the harmful ones are just as alive as the friendly ones. whats up with that?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 19, 2011
at 08:03 PM

That's some awesomeness.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on July 19, 2011
at 06:17 PM

Freezing is effective to a point, but it doesn't necessarily kill the bacteria. It usually puts it into a dormant state, but it's then reawakened when the meat is dethawed.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on July 19, 2011
at 06:14 PM

And keep in mind that grass-fed beef, depending on the source, of course, is somewhat less likely to harbor the nasties. That's because the butchering processes are not quite as bad as in a CAFO. This IS dependent, though, on the actual processor. I bought a grass-fed steer (which is now in my freezer) and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to eat it raw....if I wanted it raw. In fact we have truly enjoyed having some real rare hamburgers lately!

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:56 PM

The meat I use has been frozen, but I've heard mixed feelings about whether or not freezing is effective.

Ffff513ac686cd18c840ee12c79357ed

(1183)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:08 PM

of the bacteria you could be exposed to, a splash of vinegar is not going to make or break it. Maybe grind your own? less chance of picking up grossness if you're the one making it.

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17 Answers

11
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:27 PM

To boldy go, where no man has gone before...

would-salt-and-vinegar-negate-any-nasties-found-in-raw-ground-beef?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 19, 2011
at 08:03 PM

That's some awesomeness.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Yummy! I'd totally eat this!

E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Todd, I might be in love with you.

4
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 19, 2011
at 10:42 PM

Sally Fallon says that freezing meats for two weeks or longer will kill any harmful organisms...I've been doing this for years with no detrimental effects! Raw meat gets me high...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Freezing bacteria in glycerol works because glycerol is a cryoprotectant, it reduces the microcrystalization of water causes cell damage.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 02, 2012
at 01:06 PM

i store all my bacteria sample in a glycerol solution frozen at -20 fahrenheit. for years and have no trouble regrowing them. you must be doing something wrong. i also notive the harmful ones are just as alive as the friendly ones. whats up with that?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on May 14, 2012
at 02:36 AM

the freezing is for parasites, not bacteria

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:08 PM

Absolutely not. If there is bad E coli or something hardcore salt and vinegar isn't going to do a thing.

Not that I think eating raw ground beef is wholly bad. If it's a clean product you trust, go for it.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on July 19, 2011
at 06:14 PM

And keep in mind that grass-fed beef, depending on the source, of course, is somewhat less likely to harbor the nasties. That's because the butchering processes are not quite as bad as in a CAFO. This IS dependent, though, on the actual processor. I bought a grass-fed steer (which is now in my freezer) and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to eat it raw....if I wanted it raw. In fact we have truly enjoyed having some real rare hamburgers lately!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:44 PM

A grass-fed cow and a CAFO cow can be butchered in the same exact way. Both or neither can be contaminated with bacteria from fecal matter, both cows are going to have pathogenic bacteria present.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 03, 2012
at 04:38 AM

According to Food Inc. grass fed beef doesn't harbor the acid resistant strains of E.coli that are the problem in CAFO beef, so even if there is a slip up in processing that results in fecal contamination of the meat (and you are a reasonably healthy person) it might give you diarrhea, but it won't kill you.

3
724f0f45eb53919b8c617c3c1ec5fbc5

(830)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Much safer if you grind or chop it yourself. All meat, including relatively "clean" ground meat has bacteria in it, and the longer the meat is waiting around, the more the bacteria colonizes the meat.

Even when ground meat has been frozen, the bacteria has had a chance to grow while the meat cooled down to frozen, and it grows again as the meat thaws.

It's much better to start with a whole piece of meat, wash the outside well in plenty of running water, grind it in an impeccably clean grinder. Then serve it immediately and you're pretty safe. You could also chop it in the food processor.

It's even simpler to just chop it up with a couple of very sharp knives. That's what chefs do when preparing steak tartar, or kitfo.

MMM, mmm, good.

2
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

www.scribd.com/doc/11337868/Optimal-Conditions-for-the-Growth-of-E-Coli has some clues as to what promotes growth:

"However, because of the mechanism of osmosis, extremely high levels as well as complete absence of salt could be lethal to E. coli bacteria."

So what does extremely high levels of salt mean? Is it still edible after that? Page 11 shows the results of the salinity test, and all concentrations show the same result. So salt did not seem to work. "E.coli is able to tolerate added salt of up to 10% concentration."

Sugar did not work either: "None of the concentrations of glucose had any affect on the growth of E.coli."

pH is more interesting: "E.coli was able to tolerate an acid of pH 2.4 more easily than a base of pH 11.6." The pH of apple cider vinegar is typically between pH 4.25 and 5.00. So soaking in vinegar would not really help, but making it basic would help. Perhaps Lemon juice might help as that's a pH of 2, thus more acidic that Vinegar, and below the 2.4 threshold, so ground beef ceviche anyone?

Making it more basic: Ammonia has a pH of 11.6, so this is why CAFO meats are soaked in it. Would it still be edible after that? Would you want to eat ground beef that's been soaked in Ammonia? Maybe it could be washed off, but what affect does it have on the meat and are there residues and remnants of reactants to Ammonia?

And if you go to a normal restaurant, do you think they'd even bother to soak ground beef to wash away the Ammonia, or does it go straight onto the grill?

Temperature: "largest colonies were present..at 37C." ... "as the temperature increased from 37C to 50C, the size and number of colonies decreased." Hence the recommendations to keep meats very cold, and cook until the internal temperature is high enough to kill any pathogens.

"E. coli bacteria can survive freezing temperatures" so all freezing would do is to prevent growth, and keeping meat cold just limits the growth.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Good point on pH, specifcally basic pHs. There's no many caustic environments out there, acid is much more common and most are well adapted to dealing with it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:48 PM

E coli survives in seawater.

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:32 PM

Restaurant rule number one for eating beef raw: GRIND YOUR OWN! It will be so worth it. There is just so much surface area on ground beef, it will be very unlikely that you can kill it by freezing it, and vinegar isn't going to touch it (if bacteria can survive your stomach and make you sick, it surely can survive a little splash of vinegar).

I like eating raw meat and raw seafood myself, and I think that a lot of websites that promote raw eating really gloss over the possibilities for bacteria/parasite like "oh, it's not a big deal, it hardly ever happens, trust us". In reality, it does happen (how many times have you heard of the "24 hour flu"? Cause that was probably food poisoning), and sometimes it can be bad news (particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or a child). Freezing can not always be the ultimate solution- parasites can survive freezing, so you need those suckers flash frozen if you are wanting to eat raw pork or raw fish. It's just a good idea. For beef, the biggest thing is the surface area, so really just grind it yourself. Invest in a meat grinder and freeze the parts to get a clean grind, or use a very sharp knife and some patience on a semi-frozen piece of beef.

The chances that you will get seriously sick this way- not very high. You might get an upset stomach or a small bout of diarrhea every once in a blue moon, so it is your choice. You just don't want to be that one guy though that gets REALLY sick. We had one guy in our community contract trichinosis that just happened to cause a speech impediment and damage his CNS from wild hog- I mean, what are the chances, but it happens. Same with raw milk- listeria is a natural part of the udder flora and does no damage to the cow, and it probably won't hurt your average person either, BUT if you are pregnant do you want to take that risk of miscarriage? It just makes sense to take the precautions you can, weight the risk for yourself, and go in well prepared. Makes it taste better when you know you made it as safe as possible :)

1
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on April 07, 2012
at 06:25 PM

i eat frozen ground meat from local grass-fed ops, i have been doing so for 3 years and have not been sick once:) beef in apple cider vinegar with lots of seasonings is delicious, there are a ton of ceviche esque recipes on the interwebs.

1
Medium avatar

on January 02, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Look, unless you can personally vouch for every moment between mooing animal to market meat, there are considerable risks in eating raw meat. Don't let paleo-romanticism crowd out common sense.

1
B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:25 PM

I don't think salt or vinegar would help at all.

If you dare, read the worm within

That's enough to put me off the thought of eating any raw meat,ever.

1
Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 02, 2012
at 01:43 PM

In principle the acid is effective. See the article below.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/1902205/

I work at a plant which uses sulfuric acid to kill e coli in the effluent, so the vinegar should work, but how much would require testing the meat.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:51 PM

The organic acids they mention are some of the components in cattle stomachs, which are full of bacteria. Sulfuric acid is a whole other story.

0
A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:02 PM

don't worry about it. raw meat is completely safe. What makes knowing your butcher and source safer from getting e-coli in your ground beef is knowing how they slaughter. E-coli comes from shit. Shit gets in your beef when they string the steer up and kill it. The animal defecates when it dies and because it is upside down it can get on the skin. Then because most mills don't give a shit they mix anything they really want to ion to their ground beef including portions of meat exposed to this bacteria. If you want to eat raw ground beef make sure what you get is a)fresh and b) ground from actual cuts of meat not just a random variety of trash. I have been eating raw meat since my teenage years and not once ever have I gotten sick. I get actual chuck steaks that are fresh ground in to ground beef. I eat raw and rare pork I never cook any meat other than poultry (it's a texture thing) and like mashed up hamburger over med rare. I eat burgers and steaks extra rare. But if for some reason you get e-coli in your beef cause you bought shit from a grocery store or a tube of beef then vinegar won't help you.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:55 PM

Yes I have as a matter of fact. Sourcing meat from a good place isn't good enough. Knowing your butcher/rancher can be. Even if the intestines are punctured (which isn't likely especially with more experience) that shouldn't contaminate the cuts of meat you should use for beef grinding anyway. Also the meat should be cleaned anyway. I was a chef for 15 years in which 12 of them I butchered my own meats (granted I usually only had to work with the primal cut). I certainly don't think it is impossible but it is veryrare. Much like force feeding us grains the media has made us terrified of meat.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Um, have you ever butchered an animal yourself? It is so, so easy to puncture the intestine, and while good butchers avoid this it happens occasionally. E coli can be from handling after butchering, sanitation practices, incorrect transport (temp is key), and many other things. While I eat a fair amount of raw meat myself, I think it's naive to think that just because you source your meat from a good place that it is "impossible" for it to be contaminated.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:17 AM

Okay, I agree with your statement here, I just didn't agree with "raw meat is completely safe" statement in the first sentence, because there should be a big "IF" following. Contamination happens so easily, which is why it's important to use a combination of skill, care, and quality control to ensure maximum safety. This guys talking about eating ground beef that is pre-ground, so I think it's totally different. I grind my own for any raw purposes, and I think it's just basic safety to do so. Just eating any old pre-ground raw beef is going to up your risk significantly.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 08, 2012
at 02:09 AM

hmm yeah I assumed they were grinding their own. or at the very least having someone grind cuts for them after seeing tehir operation. My bad

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 02, 2012
at 01:00 PM

leave the vinegar out. cook the meat. cooking kills e. coli. vinegar may not kill the bacteria but hold it static until it gets diluted inside your body.

0
A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

on July 19, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Great question. Maybe it has to be frozen for X amount of time?

I've also developed a taste for raw ground beef. I sear it unseasoned on the grill and plop it on top of an arugula salad with an egg yolk or two on top. Then I add vinegar, celtic sea salt, macadamia oil etc.

In my case I dealt directly with the guy who raised the cow locally, and the competent family-run processor who made the cuts and ground beef, so my worry level is very low. But I guess if its raw raw, it would be good to know if freezing and how long for freezing minimizes the risks.

0
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Nope. That won't work. You either have to freeze the meat, or heat the meat. If you really want to partake in some raw deliciousness, try buying GF steak, or whole cuts, and grinding it yourself. Whole cuts have less surface area exposed to harmful bacteria.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:56 PM

The meat I use has been frozen, but I've heard mixed feelings about whether or not freezing is effective.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on July 19, 2011
at 06:17 PM

Freezing is effective to a point, but it doesn't necessarily kill the bacteria. It usually puts it into a dormant state, but it's then reawakened when the meat is dethawed.

0
7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Nope salt and vinegar are not going to do anything whatsoever if you eat beef that's contaminated with e coli. But if you grind your own meat it's a lot safer...I wouldn't eat pre-ground meat raw, ever, even if it wasn't grocery store beef. Better safe than sorry I think (yes, I'm a wuss but food poisoning is AWFUL and can be a lot more serious than just throwing up for a few days.)

-1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 08:01 PM

The WAPF recommends freezing liver for 14 days if you are going to consume it raw. I have no idea if that translates to muscle meat.

I keep reading that wine can help prevent food poisening. Maybe a nice glass of vino could be an extra insurance policy with your mish-mash tartare.

I agree with grinding your own for raw consumption, that's why rare steak is less dicey than rare burgers when eating out.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 02, 2012
at 02:48 PM

Big difference between liver and ground muscle meat. Any contamination on the liver is on the surface. Those bacteria are going to be the most susceptible to death by freezing. Muscle meat on the other hand has all its surface area mixed throughout the grind and thus bacteria in the middle will be more protected than those that end up on the surface.

-5
6b8e74dd6bf3bfbe68310b5265b2eb1a

(364)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I just threw up in my mouth.

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