Summertime is all about firing up the grill to cook some burgers and dogs, but getting a nasty bout of food poisoning is the last thing you want. Here are some ways to prevent it when it comes to buying, storing, and cooking meat.
- When grocery shopping, choose meat and poultry that's in the back of the refrigerated case, so you know it's cold. Those packages tend to be fresher too, but double-check the expiration date just to be sure. Wrap it in a plastic bag so the juices can't drip out and contaminate other foods. Pick out these foods and other perishable items like dairy products last when shopping.
- Place meat in the fridge if you plan on using it within two to three days. If you're going to be using it later in the week, store it in the freezer.
- Don't defrost meat at room temperature. Cover frozen meat in plastic wrap, and place it in a bowl in the fridge so the juices can't drip on anything else once it begins to thaw. You can also defrost meat in the microwave. Use the meat promptly and don't re-freeze thawed meat.
- Keep things clean. Wash your hands, your knives and other utensils, and your dishes thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria before and after preparing food.
- Don't wash raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking. Rinsing meat under water doesn't help to decrease your chance of getting food poisoning. Heat is the only thing that can kill bacteria. Washing it only spreads the bacteria around since the water can easily splash to your counter tops, cutting boards, and utensils, which can actually increase your chances of food poisoning.
Continue reading for more ways to prevent food poisoning.