Golden Rules For Ground Beef  


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Golden Rules For Ground Beef


Ground beef is one of the anchors of menus across the country. But it requires careful handling. For example, on a steak, bacteria can contaminate the outside. Give it proper grilling, and wham-o, you kill the bacteria. When meat is ground, bacteria lurking on the surface gets mixed throughout the product. You have to make sure items made from ground beef are properly handled, stored, and cooked through.

The picture says check the temps! At delivery, look for 41F or below for fresh, pre-cooked, or vacuum-packed beef; frozen or cooked frozen beef should be solid and below 0F. Follow these tips from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’
A lot can happen to beef between the distributor and your back door. Inspect the beef before you accept it. Open a few boxes and look for the following: 1) Fresh ground beef should be a bright color with little or no juices on the bottom of the box. If it’s brownish green, has an odor, or excessive juices leaking out, don’t accept it. The temperature taken with a sanitized thermometer, should be below 41F. 2) Fresh vacuum-packed ground beef should be dark red or purplish. Return it if the vacuum seal is broken or if you signs of leakage. Temperature should be below 41F. 3) Frozen ground beef should arrive frozen solid. Return it if you see frozen juices in the box or large ice crystals. Don’t accept packages that are delivered in broken cartons, dirty or soggy boxes. Put ground meat directly into a cooler or freezer after you’ve checked it.

Round ‘Em Up
Choose 1 of 3 ways to thaw beef: in the cooler, microwave, or under running 70F water. Never thaw beef at room temperature or in standing warm water . If you want to skip the thaw, toss frozen ground beef patties directly on the grill. Never refreeze thawed ground beef or, any meat for that matter. Keep yourself and the area clean. Wash your hands well before and after contact with all raw meat. Clean and sanitize work surfaces and utensils before and after use, and separate raw from cooked.

Move ‘Em Out
Even when safely handled, cooking is your best defense against foodborne bacteria. Keep these tips in mind: 1) The color of the meat is not a reliable indicator of doneness. An internal read of 155F for 15 seconds is the magic number. 2) The time required to reach doneness varies widely. Test and calibrate equipment regularly to ensure that it is always reaching the desired temperature. 3) Don’t partial cook.
4) Cook fresh ground beef with 2 to 3 days. Cook frozen gound beef right away after thawing. 5) Don’t let cooked ground beef, or any meat products, stand at room temperature. Keep them hot at 140F or higher, or properly cool and refrigerate immediately. Use shallow pans for more rapid cooling. 6) To reheat, cover ground beef and heat to 165 F for 15 seconds within two hours.

From Food Safety Illustrated

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