When handling raw meat you have the potential of cross-contamination which is the transfer of harmful bacteria via your hands, working surface, utensils, etc.  Raw poultry has a higher potential of cross-contamination because it contains more liquid than red meats.  Here are a few tips to assure you keep your kitchen and your family safe from bacteria that can make you ill.

  • When shopping keep all raw meat in plastic bags and separate from your other food in your grocery cart.  Likewise, keep your raw meat in plastic bags or sealed containers in your refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate your meats as soon as you arrive home from shopping.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after handling raw meats, poultry and seafood.
  • Use a different cutting board for your raw red meat, another one for raw poultry and another one for seafood.
  • With soap and hot water, clean your cutting board, countertops and any dishes or utensils used during the preparation and handling of all raw meats. To sanitize your kitchen, use a bleach solution of one teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per quart of water. It is recommended that the solution remain on the surface for 10 minutes to be effective in killing bacteria.

Here are some guidelines to safely cooking raw meat and poultry:

  • Beef, veal, steak to at least 145 degrees
  • Pork to at least 160 degrees
  • Ground beef to at least 160 degrees
  • Poultry to at least 180 degrees