know hamburger, and if you know what you are doing, you have no right ignoring
progress when it involves food safety - especially when it's a better tasting
product, as well."
Denise Meehan, Lick's President
Lick's is the only burger chain in North America to our knowledge that insists
upon Steam Pasteurization of beef to ensure your safety and health. Here are a
few Questions and Answers about the process, why we insist upon it, and why you
I've heard of pasteurized milk all my life but what
is this beef pasteurization process?
It is simply a method of eliminating
harmful bacteria in food products that could cause illness, in this case beef,
by killing it with heat. In recent years, there have been isolated cases of something
the media refers to as "Hamburger Disease," which is scientifically
known as E.coli0157:H7. Pasteurization specifically kills this as well as several
other bacteria you may have heard of, including Salmonella and Listeria.
What exactly is E. Coli?
It's a naturally occurring internal
bacteria in livestock that can end up on the surface of beef as it is being processed.
If ingested, it can cause serious health problems in the elderly, children or
those with deficient immune systems, but the danger is eliminated if the temperature
of the meat is raised to 160 F (72 C) or more in the cooking process. The bacteria
is quickly destroyed on a steak as soon as it starts cooking on the grill because
the heat is well above 160 F. Hamburger meat, however, presents a different challenge.
If bacteria is not eliminated on the surface of the raw meat before being ground
into hamburger, the E. Coli is churned throughout the meat and it is more difficult
to "sear" it away during cooking. That is why health officials advise
you to cook hamburgers to the well done stage.
Has Lick's ever had an E.Coli problem?
Never. Nor has had any other bacteria-related problem.
Lick's has always cooked its Homeburger and other products above the 160 F "safe"
Could you be more specific about the pasteurization
In a special patented process, whole sides of beef are steamed
at a temperature of 195 F for eight seconds, then quickly washed in cold water
before being ground into hamburger meat. This eliminates the bacteria before the
meat is ground up. From that point on to the time it is boxed at the processing
plant and delivered to a Lick's store, it undergoes rigorous state-of-the-art
sanitary processes that further ensure its safety, quality and consistency.