Food safety is super important to me and also to our farm. We’ve seen the recalls and heard the scary stories where thousands of pounds of meat or produce is tainted with something horrible. As a mom of 4 little cuties, this stuff really concerns me. Because the majority of these problems happen in the processing and packaging, I will be sharing more about our processes in another blog post. Today, I am going to touch on a few safety tips we can implement in our own kitchens to keep our meats safe for our families. MeatSafety.org is a great resource if you are unsure of how to handle something.
1. Make sure your refrigerator is at 40 degrees F or below. The cold temps keep the bad bacteria away. Our large walk in cooler at John Henry’s Meats is kept at 34 degrees F, which is extra cold for safety. We aren’t storing delicate produce like lettuce in there so we aren’t worried about anything freezing.
2. Make sure meats are wrapped correctly when freezing. When you order from John Henry’s, we take care of this for you. Any cuts you receive from us are ready for the freezer. We use the highest quality waxed butcher paper, thick vacuum seal bags and on occasion a thick freezer film if the meats are on a tray.
3. It is best to defrost meat and poultry in the refrigerator. Keeping everything cold while it is thawing will help prevent the growth of bacteria. Also, if you find that you are unable to use it once it has thawed you can refreeze it according to the USDA, just don’t wait too long. If you use the microwave or cold water to defrost your meat, we do not recommend refreezing because the temperature of the meat could be held above 40 degrees F, and that would allow bacteria to grow more rapidly.
4. Use a meat thermometer. This is one of my favorite tips especially when you are cooking grass fed and pasture raised meats. Using a meat thermometer will ensure that you are cooking the meat to the proper internal temperature needed to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present. A meat thermometer will also ensure you do not over cook your meats, which is easy to do when you are purchasing grass feed meats that are typically leaner.
5. Meal Plan when you receive an order from us. Don’t let your fridge or freezer turn into a black hole. All of our meats are cut and shipped fresh. Plan to use your meats within 2-3 days of arrival. If you are not using select meat cuts for 4+ days, put them in the freezer. This will keep the quality the best and allow you extra time once they are thawed. Once meat is thawed, we recommend using it within 1-2 days.
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