Hello! I’m back for Part 2-Rules for Handling Meat and Poultry in the Food Safety Tips series. Part 1 was about handling food properly, so this post is going to get specific about meat and poultry.
As I mentioned in Part 1, CommonGround has put together this nice little booklet called “5-Second Rules for Keeping Food Safe” that informs readers about all aspects of food safety. It has information complied from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), the Food Safety Working Group, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and food industry initiatives.
Don’t Be Chicken! 5 Rules for Handling Meat and Poultry
Red, white, dark or light, U.S. meat and poultry is among the safest in the world, but bacteria present in raw meat and poultry can cause foodborne illness if handled incorrectly. Preventing contamination is easy with these rules.
- RUNNING TO THE STORE? Make the meat counter your final stop before checkout to keep poultry and meat refrigerated longer. Avoid torn or leaky packages and remember to separate poultry and meat from other items in your cart to prevent cross-contamination.
- TIME TO UNLOAD? Start with poultry and meat. Refrigerate in leak proof containers to prevent juices from dripping onto other food. If you’re not planning to use the food within a day or two, freeze it. Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats and variety meats within two days; other beef, veal, lamb or pork should be cooked or frozen within three to five days.
- THREE WAYS TO THAW. Notice none of these methods involves the kitchen counter. Because bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, the safest method is overnight in the refrigerator. Cooking immediately? Thaw in cold water or in the microwave. No time to thaw? Meat and poultry can be cooked from frozen. Keep in mind that cooking will take at least 50 percent longer for most items.
- AN EXCEPTION TO EVERY RULE. Wash everything but the meat. It’s risk and unnecessary. Rinsing meat and poultry with water can even increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters.
- YOU CAN’T SEE DONE. Proper cooking is the best way to prevent food poisoning cause by meat. Use a thermometer to ensure that meat and poultry reach the safe recommended temperatures. These are listed below. Don’t eyeball it-one in four hamburgers turn brown before reaching a safe internal temp.
Know Before You Buy
- There’s no need to pay extra for poultry or pork that’s labeled hormone-free. USDA prohibits farmers from using hormones to raise chickens and pigs.
- Purchasing organic, grass-fed and free-range meats does not make it safer to consume. These labels refer to how the animals are raised, but all raw meat and poultry can contain bacteria that could cause illness.
- All poultry and meat sold in the United States is inspected for wholesomeness. Look for these seals stamped on packaging.
In closing, I’m going to leave you with these two bits of additional information. I hope you learned something from this post and if you have any questions, please let me know!
Ever wonder why antibiotics are given to livestock? Healthy animals provide healthy food. The judicious use of antibiotics helps prevent and control diseases, which reduces the risk of unhealthy animals entering our food supply.
The grass is always greener…Nearly all beef cattle, whether raised organically or conventionally, spend the majority of their lives in pastures eating grass.