Safe meat practices
Raw pork and chicken and beef may contain germs that can cause illness or death if not refrigerated properly and not cooked properly. The following tips will help prevent bacteria from growing on foods.
- When shopping, take food straight home to your refrigerator. The thermometer in your refrigerator should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Freeze fresh beef, pork, poultry, and fish immediately if it won't be used within two days.
- Keep raw meats and their juices away from other foods. For example, wash hands and cutting boards in hot soapy water after cutting up chicken and before dicing vegetables.
- Use two cutting boards. One for preparing meat. One for chopping vegetables. Thaw meats in the refrigerator or as part of the cooking process. Never thaw meat at room temperature.
- Cook meat thoroughly. You could get sick if you eat partly cooked meat. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
- Cook beef and pork to 160 degrees.
- Cook poultry to 165 degrees.
- NEVER leave foods such as meat, eggs, and milk products out of the refrigerator for over two hours. When cooking ahead, divide large amounts of food into small containers for the refrigerator. Then germs will not grow on the food as fast.
Food poisoning symptoms
If you feel nauseous, or you vomit or get diarrhea, it could be food borne illness. Depending on the illness, symptoms appear from 30 minutes to 2 weeks after you've eaten bad food. Most often, people get sick 4 to 48 hours after eating bad food. If symptoms are severe or the person is very young, old, pregnant, or already ill, call a doctor or go to the hospital.
Reviewed by Kathy Brandt, University of Minnesota Extension educator, 2010.