On The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls travels to some of the globe’s most remote areas to demonstrate how a stranded traveler might survive. Notable among Grylls’ survival techniques is his penchant to catch and eat snakes – raw. Raw snake does not sound appetizing to our sophisticated palates, but allow me to commend Grylls for demonstrating the benefits of consuming meat in its most natural form. While these animalistic methods might be useful on Man vs. Wild, North Carolina isn’t buying it.
Last week, our friends at Overlawyered alerted us to a law in North Carolina which makes serving rare or medium-rare hamburgers illegal. According to this report from America Online, the North Carolina Division of Environmental Health requires that restaurants cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The restriction, which does not apply to steaks, has been implemented to reduce the likelihood of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7.
While we admit that the sight of a bleeding piece of meat may actually be less appetizing than a live snake, we must question the necessity of the North Carolina regulation. There is no fault in trying to protect the health and safety of your citizens, and there is no disputing the contamination concerns of ground beef. However, it seems a little un-American to dictate how a hamburger is to served . We need to check with Justice Scalia, but certainly the Framers of our Constitution intended free hamburger choice to be an inalienable right.
North Carolina has considered adopting the United States Food and Drug Administration standard which allows restaurants to serve rare and medium-rare hamburgers so long as a disclaimer is printed on the menus. While we support giving individuals the choice of meat preparedness, by doing this, it appears that North Carolina is more concerned about restaurant liability than citizen health. Apparently, the potential for food poisoning can be overlooked as long as you are aware that you are assuming the risk.
We here at Abnormal Use do not believe that Bear Grylls would recommend eating raw food on a regular basis when properly prepared options are available. In the case of the hamburger, however, we do feel that Americans should have a choice. If raw meat is good enough for Grylls, certainly a rare hamburger is good enough for North Carolinians.