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Thursday, July 2, 2015

We Meat at Last

Memorial Day Weekend, The 4th of July, and County Fairs, the age of BBQ is upon us and there’s nothing as American as grilling on the back porch with friends in summer. Today the American food supply is among the safest in the world, however that doesn’t mean that foodborne illness isn’t a major risk for consumers. In fact, the Federal Government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually—the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. And each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. In order to prevent foodborne illness it’s important to remember safe meal preparations, and some of these listed on this blog may not be as common as you think.

Premature Browning and Persistent Pink

Myoglobin is an iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in the muscle tissue of vertebrates  and plays a large role in determining beef color in the raw and cooked state or meat. When exposed to air, myoglobin forms the pigment, oxymyoglobin, which gives meat a cherry-red color.
Premature Browning occurs when meat appears brown on the outside, but hasn’t achieved a safe internal temperature. Some ground beef patties can develop an internal, brown cooked color and look well-done at temperatures as low as 131 ̊F.


Consumers view ground beef patties that are pink in the middle as being undercooked and unsafe when these patties may be fully cooked and safe to eat, this process is called persistent pinkness. As long as the internal temperature on meat products has reached 160 ̊F (165 ̊F for Poultry Products) then it’s safe to consume. Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it, always have a meat thermometer ready to use.

Cross Contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria from one food crosses on to another. Cross contamination occurs when handling raw meat, especially poultry meat, because it contains more liquid than other meats. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling that meat is contaminated with Campylobacter or Salmonella. Therefore, it is advisable to treat all meat as potentially contaminated. When handling meats it’s important to have separate utensils that handle the meat in both raw and cooked state, this includes plates, tongs, and other utensils. Also, it’s important to keep other foods away from raw meat when preparing foods including using separate chopping boards.


Defrosting

It’s common to forget to thaw something for dinner and some consumers grab a package of meat or chicken and use hot water to thaw it fast. And for some consumers who remembered to take food out of the freezer, leave the package on the counter all day. Neither of these situations is considered safe, and these methods of thawing may lead to foodborne illness. Raw or cooked meat, poultry or egg products, as any perishable foods, must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. As soon as meat begins to thaw and become warmer than 40 °F, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to multiply.

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter, or in hot water and must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen as it thaws on the counter, the outer layer of the food could be in the "Danger Zone," between 40 and 140 °F — temperatures where bacteria multiply rapidly. When thawing frozen food, it's best to plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator where it will remain at a safe, constant temperature — at 40 °F or below. There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave, cook meat that has been thawed in the microwave immediately.

Grilling meat is fun, and shouldn’t cause problems for your family or friends this summer. Follow these tips and your BBQ and smoking days should be a breeze, don’t and you’ll make a “missed steak."

Cheers,
Conrad
 


 

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Member Profile: Conrad Kabus

Hey guys! 

Mark Twain has told us the secret of getting ahead is getting started, and in my life that can’t be more true. Currently I Duel Major in Agricultural Economics and Food Science at Kansas State University; Where, I enjoy the people, programs, football and opportunities a Land Grant Institution provides. I also work as a TV Host and Media Specialist for AG am in Kansas, where I host my own show entitled “Farm Factor with Conrad Kabus” on Statewide Television. With my education and career background, it only makes sense that I would love to talk to people about food and it’s origins. In fact, my favorite consumer education moments include talking about current food trends and the importance of scientific accuracy in our diet decisions. I love the Food for Thought Program here at Kansas State, and I can’t wait to see the innovation and community involvement it will provide in the future. 

Until next time, 
Conrad Kabus 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Member Profile: Chance Hunley

Hey guys, 
 
I am a junior in ag communications and journalism from Riverton, Kansas. I grew up on a small farm where we raise black angus cattle and mow hay for ourselves and for our neighbors. As a new Food For Thought member I am definitely looking forward to outreach events and different opportunities to connect people with agriculture and being a respectable and honest resource for those that have questions. Growing up in a rural area, I never had to answer questions about agriculture, and what are considered hot topics in the ag community were never really discussed. This has led me to research a lot of different topics and constantly think of new ways to communicate with others in meaningful ways. If you ever want to talk science when it comes to agriculture, I'm your guy! 

Until next time, 
 Chance Hunley

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