Summertime is perfect for BBQs, and Wegmans , a regional supermarket chain , has an interesting recipe for ‚cooking” hamburgers. Wonder why cooking is in quotes? In a BBQ hamburger recipe on their website, it is recommended to use three pounds of irradiated ground beef, cook the burgers until desired doneness, and if youre using non-irradiated beef, cook to 160 degrees.
This means Wegmans is telling consumers that irradiated beef doesnt have to be cooked to 160 degrees, which contradicts the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidance that ALL ground beef should be cooked to that temperature. Take a glance at the photo in the recipedoes that burger look cooked to you?
This is not the first time Wegmans grocery stores has used misleading advertising about the safety of undercooked irradiated meat. Despite being reprimanded by the USDA last year for improperly telling consumers they could undercook irradiated meat, Wegmans is still on a mission to convince consumers that irradiation is the silver bullet for foodborne illness.
In a recent store flyer, Wegmans told customers that irradiated beef is “insurance againstE. coli.” But irradiating meat does not necessarily kill all of the bacteria, nor does it sterilize the meat. There is also still a chance of cross-contamination from handling the meat in the processing plant or even in your own kitchen. Furthermore, food irradiation, a process whereby food is exposed to gamma rays, x-rays, or electron-beams to kill off bacteria, creates its own problems. Recent studies have shown that irradiating food may promote cancer development, cause genetic damage, and deplete vitamins.
Despite all of the evidence against the safety of irradiation, Wegmans grocery store has been one of its most vocal supporters, and has been pushing the technology any way they can. You can tell Wegmans to stop misinforming the public about the safety of irradiated beef by signing a letter to the store.
And next time youre at a backyard BBQ, ask where your meat‚ from and make sure it‚ cooked properly.
Hopefully your meal wont be moving on your plate.