There is nothing particularly scary about the process of meat preparation, but meat gaseous bears uncooked stage special mention. Read on for information on proper thawing, storage and handling of raw meat, as well as potential dangers of mishandling it
Meat is at its most potentially damaging stage when it is between frozen and cooked. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food that is raw and of animal origin are the most likely to be contaminated with infectious microbes. The most common foodborne illnesses associated with raw meat stems from three types of bacteria: Salmonella, E. coli O157: H7 and Campylobacter. Some of these bacteria can have moderate to severe effects on the human digestive system. Common symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea. Severe cases may also include bleeding, anemia and kidney failure. In addition to infectious bacteria, may uncooked meat harbor harmful viruses calicivirus.
Sometimes, time is a factor. Most have been guilty of forgetting to take the meat out of the freezer in time to effectively defrost for dinner. In these cases, you may be tempted to cut corners in order to expedite the process. Some of these methods can compromise the quality of meat and / or increase the chances of contracting one foodborne illness. Leaving frozen meat on the counter to thaw at room temperature is never recommended, as this can turn the meat into a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Thawing of meat in warm or hot water to accelerate the process is not recommended. The warm temperatures will allow bacteria to multiply in the melted surface of the meat, while the hinterland continue to thaw.
The best method for safely thawing meat is to place it in the refrigerator, as the cold temperatures stunt multiplication of harmful microbes. When thawing meat in the refrigerator, it is recommended that the meat is placed on a plate or tray to avoid cross-infection. Ideally, the meat is placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and kept away from ready-to-eat food and open containers. Although this is the most recommended method, it is also the slowest, so be sure to allow sufficient time for the meat to thaw. If the meat is packed airtight, may be placed in a sink filled with cold water. Water should be changed every thirty minutes to keep the temperature cold. If you’re pressed for time, you can also thaw meat in the microwave with the thaw setting. The temperature should not be too high since some parts of the meat can cook during defrosting and meat quality may be compromised.
The type of thawed meat determines how much time it can stay in the refrigerator before cooking. However, remember that all meat deteriorates quickly when it has been frozen and thawed. Ground meats such as beef, turkey or chicken should be cooked as soon as possible after they are thawed. Steaks, roasts and chops can potentially remain in the refrigerator for up to five days. Thawed meat is placed in a room temperature environment, the time frame is drastically reduced. It is not recommended for thawed meat being on a countertop for more than two hours. During warm seasons and in hot areas, should this time be halved. Once the meat has been thawed, it should not be refrozen.
For health and safety purposes, should any surface or utensils that come in contact with thawed meat thoroughly cleaned. The plate or tray meat were placed on to thaw in the refrigerator can be hand washed or placed in the dishwasher along with cutting boards, knives, tongs and utensils. If the meat sits right on a countertop surface should be wiped down with an antibacterial surface cleaner. Sponges or rags should be rinsed immediately in hot water. To avoid cross contamination, should be boiled meat space on another board than the one used for thawing. Most importantly, any person who handles raw meat should wash their hands thoroughly.
When it comes to something potentially dangerous as raw meat, it is always best to be on the safe side. If you are unsure how long the meat is left to sit at room temperature, it is best to get rid of it. Trust your senses. If there’s something off about appearance or odor of uncooked meat, the best option is to avoid it altogether.