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Storing, Preparing and Cooking Meat Safely

Hi there everyone,

Today we thought it would be a great idea to go over some basics on the health and hygiene of handling, storing and cooking your meat. Since we have just completed the 3 days of Eid Al Adha where most Muslim families have slaughtered an animal of their capability and so are more likely to be generously topped up with it even after it has been separated and distributed accordingly. Enjoying the bbq’s by the beach and sharing cooked food with neighbors, family and friends.

As most of us know, meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet. However, if you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day, the Department of Health advises that you cut down to 70g, which is the average daily consumption in the UK.

Red meat provides us with iron, and meat is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Making healthier choices can help you eat meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. But some meats are high in saturated fat, which can raise blood cholesterol levels. Fresh, natural and organic meat is the best choice of protein and iron and one should definitely not compromise this with processed meats such as store bought sausages, beef burgers and salami’s as there is likely to be a link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer.

Meats such as chicken, lamb and beef are all rich in protein. A balanced diet can include protein from meat, as well as from non-animal sources such as beans and pulses.

Food hygiene is important when storing, preparing and cooking meat.

Storing meat safely

Before there were such things as freezers, Arabs used to salt and then sun dry their red meat in the heat of the sun before it is then stored and put away for cooking another day. Now there are freezers these old methods are long forgotten but it’s still very important to store and prepare meat safely to stop bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning.

Eid-geddid_sun dried meat

  • Store raw meat or raw poultry in clean sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so the meat can’t touch or drip onto other food.
  • Follow any storage instructions on the label and don’t eat meat after its “use by” date.
  • If you cook meat that you’re not going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible and then put it in the fridge or freezer. Remember to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat.Freezing meat safely
  • Freeze it before the “use by” date.
  • Follow any freezing or thawing instructions on the label.
  • Cook the meat straight away if you defrost it in a microwave. If you want to defrost meat and cook it later, thaw it in a fridge so that it doesn’t get too warm.
  • Use the meat within two days of defrosting. It will go off in the same way as fresh meat.
  • Always thoroughly clean plates, utensils, surfaces and hands straight away after they have touched raw or thawing meat to stop bacteria from spreading.

It’s safe to freeze raw meat providing that you cook food until it’s steaming hot all the way through and when meat thaws, liquid can come out of it. This liquid will spread bacteria to any food, plates or surfaces that it touches. Keep the meat in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge so that it can’t touch or drip onto other foods.

If you defrost raw meat and then cook it thoroughly, you can freeze it again. But never reheat meat or any other food more than once as this could lead to food poisoning.

Cooking meat safely

Eid-al-Adha_Boulfaf,_el_katban,Moroccan_kebab_01

Some people wash meat before they cook it, but this actually increases your risk of food poisoning, because the water droplets splash onto surfaces and can contaminate them with bacteria. For this reason, it’s best not to wash meat.

It’s important to prepare and cook meat properly. Cooking meat properly ensures that harmful bacteria on the meat are killed. If meat isn’t cooked all the way through, these bacteria may cause food poisoning.

Bacteria and viruses can be found all the way through certain meat. This means you need to cook these sorts of meat all the way through. When meat is cooked all the way through, its juices run clear and there is no pink or red meat left inside.

Meats that you should cook all the way through are:

  • poultry and game, such as chicken, turkey, duck and goose, including liver
  • pork
  • offal, including liver
  • burgers and sausages
  • kebabs
  • rolled joints of meatYou can eat whole cuts of beef or lamb when they are pink inside – or “rare” – as long as they are cooked on the outside. This is because any bacteria are generally on the outside of the meat.These meats include:
  • steaks
  • cutlets
  • joints

Eid-al-Adha_Boulfaf,_el_katban,Moroccan_kebab_02

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