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Do's and Don'ts When Handling Meat


Meat is a part of many individuals’ meals and diet. There is a proper way to handle it in order to prevent food-borne illness. Here are some rules to follow when you are cooking with meat.

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly before Handling

Before handling the meat, or any food, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Even if you don’t feel that you have been exposed to many germs since your last hand washing, wash them directly before preparing the food anyway. Anything on your hands can make it into your food, and because germs and bacteria are too small to be seen, there is always a risk when your hands go unwashed.

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly after Handling Raw Meat

Raw meat contains harmful bacteria that is only made safe by cooking it to the proper temperature. Every time you touch raw meat, your hands become a vehicle by which this bacteria can spread. Wash them a few times with warm water and soap, and be sure to clean under your fingernails or anywhere else the bacteria may be hiding.

safe food

Be Careful When Pets Are Around

Think your pet is too well-mannered to get into the food when you are not around? Think again. Animals are tempted by food, and leaving meat unattended in the kitchen is just asking for trouble. Cats have been known to walk across the counter when their owner has slipped out for even a few minutes, and dogs that are high enough to reach the counter can make contact with the food as well.

Don’t Allow Cross-Contamination

Always be vigilant not to allow cross-contamination in your kitchen. When handling meat, and especially raw meat, keep it separate from safer foods. Try to prepare fruits, raw vegetables, and other ready-to-serve items before handling the raw meat, in order to cut down the risk of this type of cross-contamination.

Use completely separate parts of the kitchen to prepare meat, since the raw juices of meat can easily splash other food items that are nearby.

Wash Everything Thoroughly That the Raw Meat Touches

When you cut or otherwise prepare raw meat, be sure to clean any utensils and surfaces that come in contact with it. It is not enough to wipe it down, even when used along with soap. Cutting boards and plates should go into the dishwasher so as to be heated and washed intensely. You can also spritz them with vinegar, then 3% hydrogen peroxide and then rinse them well.

Utensils and other items should be stashed in the dishwasher immediately so they are not accidentally used for any other food preparation. Wash the sink thoroughly as well with soap and hot water, and then either the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide mix or a bit of bleach.

Cooking meat requires knowledge of basic food safety. It is important not to experiment when it comes to the safe handling of these particular foods. Follow these guidelines and you will be able to enjoy a great meal and keep everyone healthy at the same time.

How do you handle meat safely?
Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.

Can you put cooked chicken back in the fridge?
Here are 10 top tips for preparing and cooking chicken safely.

1) Always store raw chicken in a clean, sealed container on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so it can’t touch or drip onto other foods. It’s especially important to keep chicken away from foods like fruit or cheese, which will not be cooked before eating.

2) Do not wash your chicken. Any bacteria will be killed during cooking – washing it is just likely to splash contaminated water droplets on your surfaces.

3) Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching raw chicken, after touching it, and at any point during the preparation process when you need to touch something else – such as grabbing a utensil or opening a cupboard.

4) it’s safest to use certain chopping boards for meat, and different ones for chopping fruit and vegetables

5) As a general rule, cooked chicken should not be pink on the inside and be hot enough that steam is emerging. Juices should also run clear (i.e with no traces of pink or red). However, color isn't always a reliable indicator of whether the chicken is cooked (some cooked poultry, for instance, will retain a slight pink color), so the safest way to check it is cooked is with a food thermometer. The meat is safe to eat if the internal temperature is 165°F (73.9 °C).

6) If you are cooking a whole bird, don’t just slice open any part to check it is cooked. Check the thickest part of the leg, as this will take the longest to cook.

7) if you want to refrigerate your chicken, do not put it in the fridge immediately. Leave it to cool down for around an hour before putting it away.

8) Leftover chicken should be safe to eat for two to three days – but use your brain. If it smells off, it probably is.

9) if you are reheating cooked chicken, make sure the chicken is piping hot throughout. This is especially important if you are reheating it in a microwave, which doesn't always cook evenly.

10) If you are freezing chicken, do so immediately after buying. It is safest to defrost frozen chicken in the fridge, rather than on a kitchen surface. You can also defrost it in cold water if the chicken is in its packaging or a leak-free bag.

Should raw chicken be covered in the fridge?
Raw or cooked chicken can be stored safely in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for several days. ... If the raw juices are leaking from the original package, it should be removed and the chicken placed in a bowl and covered with wax paper, foil or rewrapped tightly in plastic before placing in the refrigerator.

What are the 10 rules for safe food practice?
The Ten Golden Rules respond to these errors, offering advice that can reduce the risk that foodborne pathogens will be able to contaminate, to survive or to multiply.

Despite the universality of these cases, the plurality of cultural settings means that the rules should be seen as a model for the development of culture-specific educational remedies.

Users are therefore encouraged to adopt these rules to bring home messages that are specific to food preparation habits in a given cultural setting. Their power to change habitual practices will be all the greater.

1. Choose foods processed for safety

While many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are best in their natural state, others simply are not safe unless they have been processed. For example, always buy pasteurized as opposed to raw milk and, if you have the choice, select fresh or frozen poultry treated with ionizing radiation. When shopping, keep in mind that food processing was invented to improve safety as well as to prolong shelf-life. Certain foods are eaten raw, such as lettuce, need a thorough washing.

2. Cook food thoroughly

Many raw foods, most notable poultry, meats, eggs, and unpasteurized milk, may be contaminated with disease-causing organisms. Thorough cooking will kill the pathogens, but remember that the temperature of all parts of the food must reach at least 70 °C. If cooked chicken is still raw near the bone, put it back in the oven until it's done - all the way through. Frozen meat, fish, and poultry must be thoroughly thawed before cooking.

3. Eat cooked foods immediately

When cooked foods cool to room temperature, microbes begin to proliferate. The longer the wait, the greater the risk. To be on the safe side, eat cooked foods just as soon as they come off the heat.

4. Store cooked foods carefully

If you must prepare foods in advance or want to keep leftovers, be sure to store them under either hot (near or above 60 °C) or cool (near or below 10 °C) conditions. This rule is of vital importance if you plan to store foods for more than four or five hours. Foods for infants should preferably not be stored at all. A common error, responsible for countless cases of foodborne disease, is putting too large a quantity of warm food in the refrigerator. In an overburdened refrigerator, cooked foods cannot cool to the core as quickly as they must. When the center of food remains warm (above 10 °C) for too long, microbes thrive, quickly proliferating to disease-causing levels.

5. Reheat cooked foods thoroughly

This is your best protection against microbes that may have developed during storage (proper storage slows down microbial growth but does not kill the organisms). Once again, thorough reheating means that all parts of the food must reach at least 70 °C.

6. Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods

Safely cooked food can become contaminated through even the slightest contact with raw food. This cross-contamination can be direct, as when raw poultry meat comes into contact with cooked foods. It can also be more subtle. For example, don't prepare a raw chicken and then use the same unwashed cutting board and knife to carve the cooked bird. Doing so can reintroduce the disease-causing organisms.

7. Wash hands repeatedly

Wash hands thoroughly before you start preparing food and after every interruption - especially if you have to change the baby or have been to the toilet. After preparing raw foods such as fish, meat, or poultry, wash again before you start handling other foods. And if you have an infection on your hand, be sure to bandage or cover it before preparing food. Remember, too, that household pets - dogs, cats, birds, and especially turtles - often harbor dangerous pathogens that can pass from your hands into food.

8. Keep all kitchen surfaces meticulously clean

Since foods are so easily contaminated, any surface used for food preparation must be kept absolutely clean. Think of every food scrap, crumb or spot as a potential reservoir of germs. Cloths that come into contact with dishes and utensils should be changed frequently and boiled before re-use. Separate clothes for cleaning the floors also require frequent washing.

9. Protect foods from insects, rodents, and other animals

Animals frequently carry pathogenic microorganisms which cause foodborne disease. Storing foods in closed containers is your best protection.

10. Use safe water

Safe water is just as important for food preparation as for drinking. If you have any doubts about the water supply, boil water before adding it to food or making ice for drinks. Be especially careful with any water used to prepare an infant's meal.

The World Health Organization regards illness due to contaminated food as one of the most widespread health problems in the contemporary world. For infants, immunocompromised people, pregnant women and the elderly, the consequences can be fatal. Protect your family by following these basic rules. They will reduce the risk of foodborne disease significantly.

What are the four principles of food safety?

  • CLEAN - Wash Hands Often. ...
  • SEPARATE - Keep Ready-to-Eat Foods Separate from Raw Meat Poultry, Seafood and Eggs. ...
  • CHILL - Refrigerate Promptly to 40 Degrees Fahrenheit or Below. ...
  • COOK - Cook to Proper Temperatures.

What are some food safety rules?
Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before preparing any food.
Wash your hands after handling raw meat, poultry, fish, or egg products.
Keep raw meats and their juices away from other foods in the refrigerator and on countertops.

How do you safely dispose of food?

  • Remove food scraps from the kitchen daily - or more frequently if required.
  • Arrange regular garbage collection. Garbage that is not collected for some time after disposal is very attractive to pests
  • Do not allow garbage containers to overflow
  • Regularly hose down and clean garbage containers
  • Always use a bin liner for garbage containers. This is a good way to ensure that the garbage container is kept as clean as possible and that harmful bacteria do not have time to grow on the inside of the unit itself.
  • Keep lids tightly closed on garbage containers when in use
  • Dispose of dangerous items such as syringes in special containers. Talk to your supervisor or manager if you are unsure of how to dispose of dangerous items
  • Do not use garbage containers to transfer food or ice
  • In warm climates - refrigerate food scraps to prevent bacteria growing to harmful levels quickly - but don't use a refrigerator with other non-waste food!
  • Finally, always wash your hands after handling garbage

How long can raw meat sit out?
So in general, regarding perishable foods like meat, most dairy, unshelled eggs, and shell eggs in the US, cooked casseroles, and so on: If the food (or its perishable components) have been at room temperature for more than two hours, you should discard that food.

Can you eat cold chicken from the fridge?
This is a new recurring weekly segment for the SGU Science News Page. Each week I’ll answer a listener/reader’s burning science, paranormal, or critical thinking question. This week – how unsafe is partially reheating meat?

Bacteria can reproduce between 5 degrees C (40 degrees F) and 60 degrees C (140 degrees F).  Above 60C/140F bacteria will no longer reproduce, but it takes 75C/165F to kill bacteria.
The recommendation is to thoroughly cook food to a high enough temperature throughout to kill existing bacteria. Using a thermometer is the best way to ensure a high enough temperature has been achieved. During food preparation, minimize contamination from raw food and thoroughly clean any surfaces and implements. (So don’t cut your vegetables on the same cutting board on which you just cut up raw chicken.)

Once the food is cooked, keep it above 60C/140F to keep any bacteria that have not been killed from reproducing.
Any food that is not consumed that you want to store for later use should be rapidly cooled – down to 5C/40F over less than 6 hours. Place the food right away in a refrigerator, and maximize surface area by storing liquids in shallow containers and cutting up large pieces of meat or food.
When reheating food, again reheat rapidly, preferably to above 75C/165F to kill any bacteria that formed during the cooling and reheating process. And again maintain above 60C/140F until used.
Here is where I think Tony’s confusion stems from. The above guidelines are designed to apply to restaurants when serving multiple people at events, or any other food service. When food is going to be heated and served immediately, there will not be time for bacteria to form.
It is safe to eat cold meat that has been thoroughly cooked and then rapidly cooled. If the meat was left out for a couple of hours after cooking and before being placed in the fridge, then bacteria may have had time to significantly reproduce. The same is true if a large leftover turkey, for example, were placed in the fridge and the center took many hours to cool sufficiently to prevent reproduction.
So there are times when that cold meat may not be safe, and thoroughly reheating to a bacteria-killing 75C/165F is recommended. If, however, the meat is thoroughly cooked, did not spend much time in the danger zone temperature, and was rapidly cooled, it is probably safe to eat cold or partially reheated, as long as it is consumed immediately.

Can you put warm food in the refrigerator?
Putting hot food in the fridge right away is the safest. Every minute the food sits cooling is more time for spoilage and contamination to occur. ... Hot food can be placed directly in the refrigerator or it can be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigeration

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