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Food Distribution Site Coming to Elizabethtown and Tips for Preparing, Handling, Cooking and Storing Meat and Poultry


SALISBURY, N.C., June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — To help neighbors enjoy the upcoming Fourth of July holiday safely, Food Lion is sharing the tips below on safe-handling of meat and poultry items on the grill:

Safety tips for handling and preparing raw meat and poultry include:

  • Always maintain fresh meat and poultry at 40°F or below to maintain freshness and safety until ready to cook.
  • Safely thaw meat in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in a microwave before cooking.  Never leave raw meat, poultry or any perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour when outside temperature is 90°F and above.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to prevent fire and grease flare-ups.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator using a glass or plastic food-safe container to keep them at the proper temperature.
  • Clean all grilling utensils, knives and plates before you begin grilling.
  • Clean cutting boards, knives and grilling utensils in hot, soapy water between every use.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after food preparation and immediately after handling raw meats.
  • Discard marinades and sauces that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

Safety tips for grilling meat and poultry include:

  • Make sure your grill is hot enough to cook your food. Whether your grill is charcoal or gas, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat and poultry is thoroughly cooked.
    • The USDA recommends safe minimum internal temperatures of 145°F for pork, beef, steaks and chops, 160°F for ground pork and beef and 165°F for turkey and chicken. Hotdogs should be served steaming hot.
  • After your food is cooked, use a new, clean plate to place the food on.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot at 140°F or warmer until it’s served. If at home, cooked meat and poultry can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200°F.

Safety tips for storing leftovers include:

  • Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for faster cooling.
  • Leftover meat and poultry can be eaten safely for three to four days if refrigerated within two hours of cooking, or one hour if the outside temperature is above 90°F. Frozen leftovers should keep for about four months.
  • Reheat cooked leftovers to 165°F, as measured with a food thermometer.

Safety tips were provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). For their complete list of grilling safety tips, click here.

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