HANDLING OF FRESH POULTRY
As a consumer, you have the right to be able to buy healthy ingredients. However, it is not possible to entirely avoid unwanted bacteria in raw materials, and that is why it is important that we handle meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, etc. with care in the kitchen.
Three basic hygiene rules for fresh poultry:
- Always keep raw poultry and packaging separated from other foods.
- Carefully wash kitchen utensils and hands after handling.
- Always cook or boil poultry until the meat juice is quite clear and the temperature in the middle is at least 75 degrees C.
Three basic cooking rules for fresh poultry:
- Heat up
- Cool off
- Avoid spreading bacteria
1. Heat up (reheating of fresh poultry, which has been cooked)
Bacteria in the food dies during cooking and boiling. The general rule is that food with meat, poultry, fish and eggs is heated through, so the temperature reaches at least 75º C. This also applies for food that is to be saved for later use, and for reheating leftovers of food. It is not enough to warm the food.
Meat and poultry have been heated through, when the meat juice is clear, and when the meat is no longer pink inside. Poultry, minced meat and mechanically tenderized meat must be cooked thoroughly. Poultry meat must not be red. This can be checked by inserting a skewer into, for example the thighbone on a chicken.
If you have to keep food hot for a while, it has to be kept constantly piping hot. If the temperature falls below 65° C, bacteria and the more hardy bacterial spores can begin to grow.
In a microwave oven, the heat is distributed in different ways in the dish. For this reason, the food should stand and rest for a few minutes after it is removed from the microwave, so that the heat can distribute to the whole portion.
2. Cool off (after cooking the fresh poultry)
When food is kept cold and chilled quickly, it stops the growth of most bacteria. Bacteria reproduce slowly at 5º C and below. Therefore, the temperature must not exceed 5º C at those places in the fridge, where you store perishable foods such as meat, cold cuts, leftovers, and milk.
NOTE! This is why all of our finished cooked, grilled and boiled products are frozen directly after processing, as this means that the amounts of undesirable bacteria is almost non-existent.
Remains of hot food to be stored must be cooled immediately and placed in the fridge as soon as it has cooled off. Large portions should be divided into smaller portions to ensure a more rapid cooling.
Small hot dishes that are on the table for a long time, will gradually reach a temperature of 20 – 40° C, and this is where bacteria thrive. There is a risk that the food will contain many bacteria after a short time. At 37º C, one bacteria can grow to 1,000 in three hours and to 1,000,000 after six hours.
Leftovers from the breakfast and lunch table should also be put in the fridge as soon as the meal is over.
Food to be frozen should be placed in the freezer as soon as possible. If you need to defrost frozen food, this is best done in the fridge. Place the frozen food in a bowl or other, so that it does not drip onto other foods. If you thaw frozen meat or poultry in warm water or at room temperature on the kitchen table, bacteria have good opportunities to multiply, especially on the surface of the meat.
3. Avoid spreading bacteria
Pathogenic bacteria may be present in raw meat and meat juices and vegetables with dirt on. The bacteria can spread between the different foods on the kitchen table and in the fridge. That is why it is important to keep food separated, both during storage and during preparation.
It is important to use different cutting boards and knives for the different foods, or wash the utensils when switching from one raw material to another. If you wipe away meat juices from raw meat with a cloth, it must be washed – or preferably: use paper towels for the juices. Finally, it is necessary to wash your hands when you have touched one food and need to prepare the next.
It is particularly important to avoid spreading bacteria from raw food to food, which is ready to be eaten. If you are not careful with switching cutting boards and washing your hands, bacteria might be transferred from a raw chicken to a green salad, which will be eaten without being heat-treated. Then you may be at risk of being sick from the salad.