Here are some important tips to remember in buying, preparing, and serving meat in order to keep your family safe.
At the store -Always buy your perishable foods last.
* Buy meat and food before the “use by” date on the package.
* Make sure that meat and perishable foods are cold and that frozen foods are solid when you buy them.
* Don’t buy packages that are torn, cracked, dented, or bulging.
* Take perishable foods home and refrigerate them right away. Never leave food in the hot car.
At home storage – Make sure your refrigerate is at 40 degrees F. or below; your freezer should be set at 0 degrees F.
* Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees F. or below; freezer at 0 degrees F.
* Put cold meat, poultry or fish in a plastic bag before refrigerating so it won’t drip on other refrigerated foods.
* Freeze meat, poultry or fish right away, if you won’t use it within one or two days.
Getting ready – Always wash hands before handling food or meat. Keep kitchen counter and utensils clean and neat.
* Wash hands with hot water and soap before and after handling meat or other food.
* Thaw foods in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the kitchen counter.
* If you use a microwave to thaw foods, cook them immediately.
* Cut meat, poultry and fish on a different cutting board than other fresh foods like vegetables.
Cooking – Follow the cooking directions and cook it right.
* Use a meat thermometer to determine when meat or poultry is properly cooked for beat flavor.
* Use this guide to internal cooking temperatures to determine when meat or poultry is ready to serve.
Pork – Chops, Roasts, Ground – 160 degrees F.
Beef, Veal, Lamb – Rounds/Steaks – 145 to 170 degrees F; Ground – 160 degrees F.
Poultry – Whole, Breast, Ground – 165 degrees F.
Serving – Always use clean dishes and utensils to serve your food. Never leave food out for more than 2 hours before or after you eat.
* Serve cooked food on a clean plate and use clean utensils. Never use the same unwashed plate that you used to thaw the meat to serve that food.
* Use separate utensils to serve each dish.
* Never leave cooked foods out on the table or counter for more than 2 hours.
Leftovers – Put leftovers in the refrigerator right away. When in doubt, throw it out. Better safe than sorry.
* Put leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours after serving.
* Reheat leftovers until steaming before serving.
Keep your fork