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Washington, D.C. – Questions received to USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline about grilling meat and poultry increase during spring and summer months.
In anticipation of the popular summer grilling holidays like Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July, I have put together some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive about grilling.
Do you have guidelines for buying meat and poultry?
What’s the best way to handle them safely?
How should I store fresh (raw) meats at home?
Refrigerate or freeze fresh meats and poultry as soon as possible after purchase. This preserves freshness and slows the growth of bacteria. They can be refrigerated or frozen in the original packaging if you plan to use them soon.
Is It Done Yet?
How can I tell when my meats are safely cooked?
Meat and poultry should be cooked to a safe temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Color of meat and poultry is not a good indicator of safety. Use a food thermometer to make sure meats have reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Safe Cooking Temperatures
How Do You Handle Raw and Cooked Meats?
I worry about my father-in-law forgetting to take a clean plate to the grill for cooked meat and poultry. Is it safe to use the same plate for raw and cooked meats?
No, to prevent food borne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food. You can either use a clean plate for the cooked meat or wash the one that held the raw meat.
Can I refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked meat and poultry?
Yes, if you refrigerated them promptly after cooking (within two hours; one hour if the temperature is above 90 °F), they can be safely refrigerated for about three or four days. If frozen, they should keep good quality for about four months.
For more information on the safe preparation, handling and grilling of meat and poultry, check out these resources in English and Spanish:
If you have any other questions about grilling meat and poultry, feel free to contact us at the Hotline (1.888.674.6854 toll-free) or online at AskKaren.gov
Written by Diane Van
TopicsBacteria, Barbecue, Beef, Diane Van, Food Safety, Fourth of July, Independence Day, July 4th, Lamb, Meat, Memorial Day, pork, Poultry, U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, Veal, washington d.c.
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