I first heard about this from my brother: he was traveling through the US and ordered a hamburger. They asked him how he'd like it done, and his confused response was, "Uh, cooked all the way through, considering the fact that it's made of ground beef?"
Since then, I've encountered cooking shows and other American shows that reference hamburgers being done "medium" or "rare," and this makes me wonder: is this common? Are your hamburgers made of something where there isn't a risk of E.Coli? I've always learned that you can only do that with non-ground forms of beef, but that ground beef has to be cooked completely through because it has all had contact with the air and the outside and all that.
I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it looks like the US has the same food safety laws as we do, which state that ground beef has to be cooked to 160F, or else you risk bacterial contamination (and I guess that's just medium-well done rather than well done).
...Actually, I just Wikipediaed "Hamburger," and they say that for safety's sake hamburgers should be cooked the 170F, or "well done," but also acknowledge that you can cook hamburgers to any amount of doneness.
So, what's the deal, Americans? Are you eating hamburgers made from non-ground steak or something? Are you just risking e.coli? (And this isn't just a "using raw eggs in frosting"-level of risk here.) Is this actually legal? Do Canadians actually offer this and I just don't know about this? (I have strong doubts about that, considering that I know it would pretty much be illegal to offer not-well-done hamburgers in restaurants here in BC.) I'm seriously curious about this.
Inquiring minds want to know.