Updated: March 02, 2016

Worried about ground beef? Protect yourself and guests with these tactics from Michael Moss, the New York Times writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on the dangers of contaminated meat. He gleaned these stay-safe tips from meat-industry insiders.

Double-bag it
At the grocery store or butcher, place your package of ground meat in a plastic bag so no meat juices can leak onto your other food.

Be obsessive
Keep raw meat separate from other foods youre prepping (especially raw salad ingredients). Afterward, wash down your counters and cutting boards with a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart water, or use a sanitizing countertop spray.

Measure the heat
Its not enough for your burger to look cooked. Follow our recipes (see page 163), then use a meat thermometer to ensure that the burgers reach the temperature specified. (We like the Oxo Good Grips Instant Read Meat Thermometer ($20); its great because the storage sleeve lists the recommended internal temperatures for various meats, so you never have to guess.)