Now that the weather is more conducive to grilling and other forms of outdoor cooking, it’s important to keep a clean workspace and ensure meats are properly stored and prepared, said Dr. Jenna Anding, nutrition and food science associate department head, Texas A&M University, College Station.
She said poultry, fish, seafood or ground beef should be cooked or frozen within a day or two of purchase. Steaks or pork chops should be cooked or frozen within four to five days.
She also noted some meats defrosted in the microwave may not thaw out evenly and other parts of the food may be partially cooked, so it’s better to let them thaw in the refrigerator.
She also said raw meat, poultry or seafood should be tightly wrapped or stored in a sealed bag or container and kept in a different cooler than other foods.
Anding said foods on a grill can brown quickly and look as though they are sufficiently cooked when they are not, so a food thermometer is the only way to ensure foods are heated to a safe internal temperature.
“Keep food covered and never let it sit out for more than two hours,” she said. “If the weather is 90 degrees or hotter, eat or store your food within one hour.”
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.