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Cooking meat isn’t without hazard, as improperly cared for and cooked meats can quickly make your family sick. By following a few food safety precautions, you can keep your family safe. Follow these easy “do’s and don’ts” of handling and cooking with meat.

  • Do buy meats last at the grocery store, and place the meat in its own plastic bag.
  • Do place your meat in a cooler if your drive home is longer than 30 minutes.
  • Do freeze or refrigerate meats as soon as you arrive home. Place meats in individual plastic freezer bags and place the bags on a tray to keep drippings from reaching other foods.
  • Do marinate meats in the refrigerator, and throw away any unused marinade.
  • Do cook meats immediately after defrosting in the microwave. The microwave can cause meat temperatures to rise and bacteria to grow if the meat isn’t cooked right away.
  • Do defrost meats using cold water, if you have the time. Fill the sink with cold water and completely submerge the meat. Change the water every 30 minutes. This method ensures you won’t compromise food safety while you’re defrosting meats.
  • Do sanitize countertops and cutting boards with a bleach solution after they’ve touched raw meat.
  • Do allow meats to reach proper meat cooking temperatures. Fish should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Beef, lamb pork and veal should reach 155 F. Proper meat cooking temperatures for chicken are 165 F.
  • Do use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meats are at the proper meat cooking temperatures. For the best food safety reading, place the thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat.
  • Don’t buy meats that have expired, are an odd color, feel warm to the touch or are sloshing in thick liquid.
  • Don’t use the same cutting board for meats and vegetables without first washing it thoroughly.
  • Don’t place cooked meat back on a plate that held raw meat when the meat is done cooking.
  • Don’t touch uncooked meats and wipe your hands on the kitchen towel. Doing so can transmit bacteria to the next user.
  • Don’t ever partially cook meat and refrigerate it for later use.
  • Don’t rely on visual inspection to make sure your meat has reached the proper meat temperature if you’re just learning to cook. Juices can fool you into believing the meat has reached the proper meat temperature when it has not.
 Posted on : September 18, 2013