BACTERIA AND SPOILAGE
The bacteria that can contaminate food are always in the environment. Proper handling, good personal and kitchen hygiene and appropriate cooking are your protections against food poisoning.
Bacteria are extremely small organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye and are everywhere. Some bacteria can grow on meat and produce chemicals we recognise as spoilage or 'gone off'.
Some bacteria are harmful to human health. These harmful bacteria are called pathogens. Pathogens on meat can cause an infection in the body, like gastro-enteritis, or they can produce toxins that cause food poisoning.
You cannot always rely on how meat looks or smells. This is why it is important to keep meat at a low temperature (below 4ºC) and handle it hygienically.
DON'T GIVE BACTERIA TIME TO GROW
When given the moist, warm environment they like, food poisoning bacteria grow very quickly. So keep perishable foods cold (below 4ºC) and use as soon as possible.
Take extra care with hygiene when handling and storing mince and finely sliced or diced meats.
Remember the more surface area of meat that is exposed, the greater the possibility of bacterial contamination.
Minced meat and hamburger patties should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 75ºC; they should not be served undercooked, rare or pink.
MEAT IS A PERISHABLE FOOD REQUIRING HIGH STANDARDS OF HYGIENE
Before and after handling meat:
Working with meat:
- Wash equipment thoroughly in hot water
- Wash hands with soap and water and dry hands thoroughly
- Keep all work surfaces, utensils and cutting boards clean
- Use seperate cutting boards for meat and vegetables
- Always use a clean, sharp knife for preparing cuts