We all do it, and safety is the best precaution unless you choose on abstaining from it; and of course, you know I am talking about handling and preparing meat. Unless you choose to prepare an entirely vegetarian menu for your family, meat is an important staple for protein and fat for the majority of Americans.Here is a set of rough guidelines for cooking it safely presented by the USDA:
Beef is the backbone of America. Entire states have an economy based around the beef industry. Customers visiting steakhouses in the Midwest pride themselves on eating 72oz porterhouses. Hollywood has even built a genre around most male’s aspiration to becoming cowboys. While different cuts of beef require different suggested cooking times, it is standard that most ground beef mixtures to be cooked to 160 degrees and stand alone cuts be cooked to around 145 degrees or higher.
Chicken and poultry products have a stigma of people relying on free psychic readings in order to tell when their meat is done. You do not have to regard chicken as an unsanitary food product and cook it forever in order to enjoy it. Make sure your bird is cooked to at least 165 degrees, and that all surfaces on which the raw product was exposed are properly disinfected.
Pork, or as the industry would like you to refer to it “The Other White Meat” is a cheap and economical way to feed your family. While most consider pork products like ham, sausage, and bacon as extremely fatty, other sections of the animal like the chops and tenderloin are excellent lean sources of protein. Just like beef, make sure that ground pork is cooked to 160 degrees and chops and steaks are at least 145.
Fish is an excellent source of quality fats, oils, and proteins that any diet can benefit from. For fresh, cold water fish; it is a recommended to cook it to at least 135 degrees. For salt-water fish, you will want to cook it longer because of excrement from other mammals contaminating it. If eating sushi or other raw fish, make sure it is prepared by someone experienced in their profession.If you are worried about any other possible meat contamination, you can visit the USDA website for meat preparation, handling, and thawing safety. Happy Eating!