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A thermometer checking the temperature of a plant burger


Should Plant-Based Meats Be Cooked?

Guidelines for properly cooking meats are well documented, but what about for plant-based products? Unfortunately, there is little information available on the time and temperature combinations required to safely cook and eat certain plant-based foods. Consumers generally, and correctly, consider burgers to be raw and to require cooking prior to consumption. However, many view plant-based burgers as not raw because they contain plant material, and some plants can be eaten raw.

“Many consumers believe that plant-based foods are minimally processed, more healthful, and nutritionally superior to otherwise similar animal-based counterparts,” said John Luchansky, lead scientist at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center’s (ERRC) Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research unit in Wyndmoor, PA. “In reality, plant-based meats are ultra-processed and contain numerous food-grade chemicals as ingredients.”

“Plants often harbor high levels of foodborne pathogens and, as such, plant-based burgers should be considered and handled just like for example, raw ground beef,” said Luchansky’s research partner Anna Porto-Fett, microbiologist at ERRC.

Read more here.