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Food Safety: Handling and Cooking Meat

It's important to handle meat properly in the kitchen. Follow these food safety tips.

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Measure doneness with a meat thermometer.

Although our food supply is among the safest in the world, your health is at risk when you don't follow safe handling procedures. Follow these guidelines to keep protect yourself and your family.

Clean everything that the meat touches -- including hands, utensils, countertops, and cutting boards -- with hot, soapy water.

Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after touching raw meat.

If you use a knife or any other utensil or plate for raw meat, don't use it for other foods without first washing it in hot, soapy water.

Reserve one cutting board just for raw meats. Designate another for all other foods. For maximium safety, choose plastic, not wood, cutting boards for meats.

Cook ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb to 160 degrees F. The color of the cooked meat is not a good indication of doneness. Cook the other cuts of beef to at least 145 degrees F (medium rare) and pork to at least 160 degrees F (medium).

To use a marinade as a sauce, before serving, bring marinade to a rolling boil to destroy any bacteria that may be present.

Don't cook any meat, poultry, or fish in stages (partially cooking it to save time, then finishing it later). Even if you store it in the refrigerator between cooking periods, safe temperatures may not be maintained.

How to Use a Meat Thermometer

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