Beef Food Safety on National Filet Mignon Day

National Filet Mignon Day is observed annually on August 13th.  The tenderloin from which the filet mignon comes is the most tender cut of beef and is also considered the most desirable and therefore the most expensive.

Where’s the beef? Use the hashtag #NationalFiletMignonDay on Social Media to find restaurant specials to enjoy a nice evening with a delicious filet mignon meal, together with friends and family.

Beef Food Pathogens

All meat potentially contains pathogens that—if not destroyed by proper cooking—can cause food illness, but some meats are more risky than others. Beef, and especially ground beef, has a combination of qualities that can make it particularly problematic—and the consequences of eating tainted beef can be severe.

You play an important role in the safety of all foods that enter your home! You should keep products properly refrigerated, surface areas clean and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking of the foods that go on your dinner table.

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Cook ground beef to a minimum of 160˚F, using an instant read meat thermometer. For ground beef patties, insert the thermometer from the side to the center of the patty.

Steaks and roasts should be cooked to at least an internal temperature of 145˚F, using an instant read meat thermometer and let rest for three minutes before serving.

You play an important role in the safety of all foods that enter your home! You should keep products properly refrigerated, surface areas clean and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking of the foods that go on your dinner table.

Beef Introduction

“Beef” is meat from full-grown cattle about 2 years old. A live steer weighs about 1,000 pounds and yields about 450 pounds of edible meat. There are at least 50 breeds of beef cattle, but fewer than 10 make up most cattle produced. Some major breeds are Angus, Hereford, Charolais, and Brahman.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service:

  • The amount of beef consumed in the U.S. Per Capita: 55.7 lbs.
  • 2016 Economic impact: $67.56 billion in farm cash receipts for cattle and calves

About Filet Mignons

A few things to know about the Filet Mignon:

  • “Filet Mignon” is just a fancy name for a beef tenderloin steak.
  • Famous author O. Henry coined the term filet mignon in his book, The Four Million in 1906.
  • A French derivative, the literal meaning is small (mignon) boneless meat (filet).
  • Filet Mignon is the cut from the small end of the beef tenderloin.
  • Filet mignon is a steak cut of beef taken from the tenderloin, or psoas major of the steer or heifer.

How is beef inspected?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the agency responsible for ensuring that the commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products in the U.S. is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act requires USDA inspectors to provide inspection of live cattle before entering a federally-regulated establishments. Inspectors also oversee where beef is cut and packaged and the finished meat products are prepared for shipment to their final destinations.

Inspection is mandatory; grading is voluntary, and a plant pays to have its meat graded. USDA-graded beef sold at the retail level is Prime, Choice, and Select. Lower grades (Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner) are mainly ground or used in processed meat products. Retail stores may use other terms which must be different from USDA grades.

USDA Prime beef (about two percent of graded beef) has more fat marbling, so it is the most tender and flavorful. However, it is higher in fat content. Most of the graded beef sold in supermarkets is USDA Choice or USDA Select. The protein, vitamin, and mineral content of beef are similar regardless of the grade.

How to Handle and Store Beef Safely

The  USDA recommends certain standards and directions for handling and storage of beef:

At Store: Select raw beef just before checking out at the register. Put packages of raw beef in disposable plastic bags, if available, to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Beef, a perishable product, is kept cold during store distribution to retard the growth of bacteria.

At Home: Take beef home immediately and refrigerate it at 40 °F (4.4 °C); use within 3 to 5 days—1 or 2 days for ground beef and variety meats such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, or tongue—or at freeze at 0 °F (-17.8 °C). If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely.

Freezer Storage: It is safe to freeze beef in its original packaging or repackage it. However, for long-term freezing, overwrap the porous store plastic with aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer-weight plastic wrap or bags to prevent “freezer burn,” which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food. Cut freezer-burned portions away either before or after cooking the beef. Heavily freezer-burned products may have to be discarded for quality reasons. For best quality, use steaks and roasts within 9 to 12 months.

Beef Safe Cooking

For safety, the USDA recommends cooking all raw beef steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

Cook hamburgers and ground beef mixtures such as meat loaf to 160 °F (71.1 °C) as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver and tongue) to 160 °F (71.1 °C).

For approximate cooking times for use in meal planning, see the following chart compiled from various resources. Times are based on beef at refrigerator temperature—40 °F (4.4 °C). Remember that appliances and outdoor grills can vary in heat. Use a food thermometer to check for safe cooking and doneness of beef.

Approximate Beef Cooking Times °F
325° F (162.8 °C); 425 °F (218.3 °C )
Type of Beef Size Cooking Method Cooking Time Internal Temperature
Rib Roast, bone in 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325 °F 23-25 min./lb. 145 °F  (62.8 °C) and allow to rest at least 3 minutes
Rib Roast, boneless rolled 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325 °F Add 5-8 min./lb. to times above
Chuck Roast, Brisket 3 to 4 lbs. *Braise 325 °F *Braise 325 °F
Round or Rump Roast 2 1/2 to 4 lbs. Roast 325 °F 30-35 min./lb.
Tenderloin, whole 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 425 °F 45-60 min. total
Steaks 3/4″ thick Broil/Grill 4-5 min. per side
Stew or Shank Cross Cuts 1 to 1 1/2″ thick Cover with liquid; simmer 2 to 3 hours
Short Ribs 4″ long and 2″ thick *Braise 325 °F 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours
Hamburger patties, fresh 4 ounces Grill, broil or fry 3 to 5 minutes per side 160 °F (71.1 °C)

*Braising is roasting or simmering less-tender meats with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.

The Food Temperature “Danger Zone”

Bacteria multiply rapidly in the “Danger Zone” — temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. Keep food cold below 40 °F and cook beef above 145 °F  and 160 °F for ground beef.

Food Safe Steps

Safe food handling and proper cooking will help keep you and your family safe from foodborne bacteria. Follow the four food safety steps

  • Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate: Separate raw meats and poultry from other foods.
  • Cook: Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C).
  • Chill: Refrigerate promptly.


Beef Resources

The United States is the world’s largest beef producer and second largest beef exporter, but significant imports of lower-valued processing beef also make it the world’s largest beef importer.