Meat Food Safety

Simple Guidelines
• Keep cold foods cold – Below 41°F • Keep hot foods hot – Above 135°F • Keep food preparation areas clean. Good sanitation practices will prevent cross-contamination between raw and ready to eat foods.
Wash hands thoroughly with warm (100°F) soapy water before and after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood.

Rinse poultry and seafood with cold water prior to cooking.

Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Never thaw frozen meat, poultry or seafood on a kitchen counter. Room temperatures will promote bacterial growth on the outside of thawing product even while it remains frozen in the product interior. Thawing product under cool (70°F or colder) water is also acceptable as long as there is an overflow.

Marinated meat, poultry and seafood should be stored in the refrigerator until cooking. Never marinate products at room temperature.

Wash utensils, containers, cutting boards and food preparation surfaces with hot soapy water before and after contact with raw or cooked meat, poultry or seafood. Never share tools with raw and cooked food without thoroughly washing before use.

Keep aprons, towels and wiping cloths clean. Do not use sponges to clean in food preparation areas.

Food Safety Basics

Cook meat, poultry and seafood thoroughly prior to eating. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature. Please use the guide below for food temperatures. Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.

When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and other refrigerated or frozen items last. Keep perishable products cold, below 41°F.

Become familiar with the “Sell By” and “Use By” dates. These dates are intended to inform the consumer as to how long a food product will retain optimum quality attributes before consumption.

Return home directly after shopping for perishable food items and store them quickly in a refrigerated or frozen storage space. If this is not possible, keep a cooler in the car to keep perishables cold.

Stuffing must be treated with special care because bacteria from raw poultry can grow in the stuffing – rapidly. Cooking stuffing in a separate container is recommended. If you do stuff poultry, stuff just prior to cooking. Stuff loosely (no more than 2/3rds full) and remove stuffing immediately after cooking.

Cooking Times:

Do not interrupt cooking time as partial cooking may encourage bacterial growth.

All microwaves do not cook alike. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking and standing times. Always verify the internal cooking temperature of meat and poultry in several spots with a food thermometer. The temperatures reached in different parts of the meat vary much more in microwave cooking than in conventional ovens.

When grilling, use separate plates for carrying raw and cooked meat to prevent crosscontamination. Refrigerate leftovers after each meal and reheat to 165°F prior to eating.

Category Food Temperature (°F) Rest Time
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165 None
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 3 minutes
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165 None
Poultry breasts, roasts 165 None
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165 None
Duck & Goose 165 None
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) 140 None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers 165 None
Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. None
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque. None
Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking. None
Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm. None