Saturday, February 5, 2011
HOW TO SAFELY PREPARE GROUND BEEF
In my previous blog I stuck out my neck by saying that in my view the USDA is doing a better job of educating consumers about eating safely than the FDA. Well, today's ground beef recall notice from the USDA (see Alerts) bears out my point. The USDA has included a consumer education box along with the recall information. This is the first case I have noticed. I am passing it on, since I don't think many people read those recall notices. Of course, it's all just common sense, but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves from time to time.
By the way, this recall was for bulk ground meat products that had been sent to restaurants all over southern California. Studies have shown that it is not unusual for restaurant workers to break these rules.
PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160° F.
Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.
The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.