NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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With Extra Care

WITH EXTRA CARE

 

                While all foods are subject to the four simple steps of food safety:

  • Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
  • Separate: Don't cross-contaminate!
  • Cook: Cook to proper temperature
  • ChillL: Refrigerate promptly
  •                 - Some foods require extra care or special handling.

                    Eggs and Foods Containing Eggs- Fresh eggs must be handled carefully, for even eggs with clean, uncracked shells may contain Salmonella bacteria. Buy eggs only from a refrigerated case. Make sure they are clean and the shells are not cracked. Refrigerate them promptly at home in their original carton. Avoid storing eggs in the rack on your refrigerator door, as the temperature here fluctuates widely. Cook eggs and dishes containing eggs thoroughly. Both the yolk and white should be firm; scrambled eggs should not be runny. Dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160°F as verified by a thermometer. Serve eggs and egg-containing foods immediately after cooking, or keep hot dishes hot (above 140°F) and cold dishes cold (below 40°F). If eggs and egg dishes are pre-cooked and refrigerated, they should be reheated as leftovers, to 165°F.

                    Meat/Fish/Poultry -Frozen meat, poultry, and fish may be thawed in a variety of ways. Place the frozen item into the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerator thawing generally requires at least 24 hours for each 5 pounds of meat, poultry, or fish.  For faster thawing, put the frozen package in a watertight plastic bag under cold water. Change the water often.  When microwave-defrosting food, plan to cook it promptly after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.

                    Hamburger -Ground meat must be handled with special care because bacteria on the surface are spread throughout the meat during grinding. Always cook to 160°F, verified with a thermometer inserted sideways into meat that has been lifted out of the pan on a spatula.

                    Hot dogs and lunch meats- These products are perishable and should be kept in the refrigerator. Cook hot dogs immediately before eating, and cook lunch meats if they are to be eaten by a person at high risk for foodborne illness.

                    Stuffed meat or poultry - Stuff poultry, meat, or fish just before cooking. Put the stuffing in lightly, without packing, to allow heat to penetrate throughout quickly. Make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of at least 165°F as verified with a thermometer. You may choose to bake stuffing separately. Do not cook whole stuffed poultry in the microwave because the stuffing may not reach temperatures hot enough to kill harmful bacteria.

                    Using the microwave to cook meat, poultry, or fishCooking in a microwave can leave areas that do not get as hot as the rest.  Start with a piece of meat that is the same temperature throughout so that it will cook more evenly. If it has been defrosted in the microwave, allow a rest period of 20–30 minutes between defrosting and cooking to allow the temperature to equalize. Cook large cuts of meat at medium power (50%) to allow heat to reach the center without overcooking outer areas.  Stir or rotate food midway through the cooking time to eliminate cold spots.

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