Meat Safety: Handling and Cooking Meat the Right Way

Meat safety is something you cannot afford to ignore if you are a meat lover. Meat acts as a unifying factor between bacteria and humans in that both list it as a favorite part of their diet. In the same way that humans eat different types of meats from different animals, bacteria also strive to grow on almost all type of meats. The problem with bacteria is that they not only grow on meat but also harm humans. Following these, it is important that man devices measures of keeping the bacteria away.

Unknown to many people, meat safety is of paramount importance and different types of meats require different handling. For instance, fish will go bad quite fast as compared to beef. Again, some meats may last weeks in refrigerators while other types of meats only last a few days before they go bad. Here are different methods of handling and cooking different meats:


  • While handling meat, washing hands frequently is a safety measure to prevent contamination
  • To ensure there is adequate meat safety, it should be prepared on a different surface from other foods. This is because germ spread easily in the presence of meat and can easily contaminate fruits and vegetables.
  • Utensils used to handle raw meat must be thoroughly cleaned. Again, they should never serve any food.


Refrigerator in the kitchen with food

  • Raw, uncured meat is safe in the refrigerator for only a few days. If it has to stay longer, freezing in airtight packages is the better option.
  • Refrigeration and freezing temperatures should be as close to 0 degrees as possible. If possible, retain the 0 degrees Celsius (34F) to keep the nutrients intact and prolong foods’ shelf life.


The safety and taste of food depend mostly on the cooking part. Different meats require different cooking temperatures. Below is a guide to cooking temperatures of different meats:

  • Ground lamb, beef, and pork cooks best at 160 F
  • Ground or whole poultry at 165 F
  • Whole Fresh meats at 145 F with a 3-minute cooling period before serving
  • Fish will cook best at 145 F


  • It is important that meats have a resting time after cooking and before serving to provide more time for the extermination of remaining bacteria.
  • Poultry, fish, and pork are notorious carriers of bacteria, parasites or worms and must not be eaten raw.

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