Raw meat and poultry can contain harmful bacteria, such as listeria, E. coli, salmonella, and parasites. Use the following tips to prevent bacteria growth, spoilage, and foodborne illnesses.
Proper storage: Store raw meat and poultry on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. If any juices drip, they won’t contaminate anything else in the fridge. Raw meat and poultry should be stored at temperatures between 34ºF and 40ºF.
Handling: Always separate raw meat from other food items when cooking, particularly when using cutting boards or utensils. Never place cooked meat on a surface that previously held raw meat unless it’s been thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water.
Cooking guidelines: Washing meat before cooking does not kill or remove bacteria. Only thorough cooking eliminates these contaminants. Cook or freeze fresh meat/poultry within 3 to 5 days. Fresh steaks/roasts/chops (beef, lamb, veal) and fresh pork/ham should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF, while fresh poultry of any kind is safe to eat above 165ºF. Cook ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, veal) until it reaches 160ºF.