Safe Handling Tips
Food Safety is very important to us; here are a few tips for planning your shopping trip to ensure your meat selection makes it back home safely:
- Before you leave the house make sure you have plenty of room in your refrigerator and freezer and that your refrigerator is cooling properly it should be around 39°.
- If you plan on purchasing a bag of pre – cut & wrapped meat stop by the meat department at the end of your shopping trip to ensure your meat selection is at its coldest when heading to the checkout.
- If it's a side of beef you have a hankering for, then stop by the meat department first thing and make your selection. Provide our professional meat cutters with cutting instructions and we will keep it cold while you are doing the rest of your shopping. Don't forget to head on back to the meat department before going to the checkout.
- Go home right after making your meat purchase and place the meat in your refrigerator or freezer.
- No going out to eat or stopping by the mall on your way home!
- If you live more than 30 minutes away, consider bringing an ice chest large enough to accommodate your meat purchase.
Your meat selection has been carefully packaged using an extra heavy plastic that we use specifically for The Big Meat sale; this wrap will help keep your purchase fresh in the refrigerator and will help protect it from freezer burn if you choose to freeze for use at a later date.
Here is a guide to storing your meat purchase:
Because freezing 0° F keeps food safe indefinitely, the following recommended storage times are for quality only.
|Item||Cut||Days in Refrigerator||Months in Freezer|
|Fresh Beef||Steaks||3 to 5||6 to 12|
|Chops||3 to 5||4 to 6|
|Roasts||3 to 5||4 to 12|
|Ground||1 to 2||3 to 4|
|Stew meat||1 to 2||3 to 4|
|Fresh Pork||Chops||3 to 5||4 to 6|
|Loins||3 to 5||4 to 12|
|Butts||3 to 5||4 to 12|
|Ground||1 to 2||3 to 4|
|Fresh Poultry||Chicken or Turkey Whole||1 to 2||12|
|Chicken or Turkey Parts||1 to 2||9|
For quality and safety it is recommended to thaw meat in a refrigerator this may take 5 to 48 hours or longer depending on the size of the cut. Always put the meat to be thawed in a dish or bowl and place on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to keep raw meat juices from contaminating other food items.
When preparing your recent meat purchase, for Food Safety reasons always remember to:
Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and food.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
Cross-contamination is how bacteria can be spread. Improper handling of raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs can create an inviting environment for cross-contamination. As a result harmful bacteria can spread to food and throughout the kitchen.
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause food borne illness. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods.
Use a food thermometer which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes, to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Cook roasts and steaks to a minimum of 145°F. All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer.
Cook ground meat, where bacteria can spread during grinding, to at least 160°F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked ground beef with a higher risk of illness. Remember, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burgers.
Cook fish to 145°F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food borne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40°F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0°F or below.
Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90°F).
Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
Use or discard refrigerated food on a regular basis.
Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat and poultry reach a safe minimum internal temperature.
Temperatures listed for beef and pork are final target temperatures. To prevent overcooking and dryness, stop cooking 5 degrees below target temperature (this does not apply to ground meat & meat mixtures or poultry).
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.
Why the Rest Time is Important
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.
|Category||Cut||Temperature (°F)||Rest time|
|Fresh Beef||Steaks, roasts, chops||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh Pork||Fresh pork||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh Poultry||Chicken & Turkey Whole, Poultry breasts, Poultry thighs, legs, wings, Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||165||None|
|Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures||Beef & Pork||160||None|