Food Safety Tips – Properly Store & Prepare Meat

During our safety month, we’ve covered everything from pool safety, creating first aid kits and being prepared for emergencies. With the weather being warm around most of the country, people are beginning to spend time outside grilling and having parties. If you are anything like my family, you love to grill but making sure food is cooked and stored properly is a must to keep everyone safe and not sick!

Store & thaw food properly

I purchase large amounts of meat through a food coop that purchases directly from the farm, so our meat comes frozen. After purchasing meat, be sure to immediately store in the freezer or fridge. When thawing, the best option is to thaw in the fridge on the lowest level away from other food. If you are in a bind, place the meat in a plastic bag in a large bowl of cool water.

NEVER thaw meat on the counter or in the sink. This may lead to foodborne illnesses because after the meat becomes warmer than 40 degrees, bacteria can begin to multiply.

Thawing Meat Properly

Cook meats to temperature

According to the FoodSafety.gov website, cooking meats to the following temperatures are recommended. Please note that meat will continue to cook after removing it from the heat source. My recommendation is to remove the meat about 5-10 degrees away from your desired temperature and let rest so the juices will stay in the meat when you cut. I know it’s tough to let it rest after pulling from the grill, but hold out for at least 10 minutes and you will be happy you did! 🙂

Beef, Veal & Lamb – minimum 145 degrees

Ground Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb – minimum 160 degrees

Poultry – minimum 165 degrees

Ground poultry – minimum 165 degrees

Fresh Pork & Ham – 145 degrees

-Precooked ham (reheating) 140 degrees

Eggs & egg dishes – Cook until whites are firm and no longer runny

For more information about safe meat temperatures, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html

Grilled Meat to temperature

Food safety after cooking

Now that your meats are properly cooked & rested, your family can dig in. If however you are having a BBQ and leaving food out for people to graze on, be sure that they are not at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If salads or prepared side dishes have dairy or are mayo based, it’s advised to keep the dishes 40 degrees or below.

BBQ’s and parties are a time to have fun and mingle with family and friends but making sure foods are prepared safely will keep everyone happy and healthy. Try some of our favorite recipes and start up the grill!

Grilling & Food Safety Tips

Paleo Turkey Verde Burgers & Grilled Potato Salad

Paleo Sausage & Cornbread Stuffing

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Homemade Grilled Pita Pizzas

Happy Grilling!

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