You Might Also Like
Explore this issueApril/May 2014
Also by this Author
Only weeks after the Clinton administration and new Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy took office in 1993, the USDA initiated a public education program in response to the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak that hit the Pacific Northwest. The USDA wanted to ensure that the public understood not only how to handle raw meat and poultry products safely, but also how to properly cook it. Families at home, as well as cooks at restaurants, needed to be brought up to date with more accurate cooking temperatures.
Washington state law, at the time of the outbreak, required restaurants and institutions to cook hamburger patties to an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the federal standard was only 140 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a 1995 article in the Spokesman Review (Spokane, Wash.) newspaper, Bert Bartleson, technical expert for the state health department’s food program investigating the outbreak stated that “had Jack in the Box followed state regulations, which mandated that hamburgers be cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, the  epidemic would have been prevented.” He also pointed out that “State law [of 155 degrees] superseded a federal guideline at the time of 140 degrees…Either [Jack in the Box] didn’t believe in science, or they didn’t read the literature. If they followed the standards…no one would have gotten sick.” The FDA and USDA have since revised federal requirements, increasing cooking temperatures for raw meat to 155 degrees.| | | Next → | Single Page