Our family just learned a hard lesson. Even if you buy your meat at a reputable supermarket it doesn’t automatically mean it is completely safe. Our recent experience didn’t just affect the humans, the cat had a bit as well and none of us liked the results. In this instance, the fault lies mostly with the cook (me), but that isn’t necessarily always the case.
Science Projects: It’s lurking in the back of the fridge on the bottom shelf…that neatly covered bowl you put into the refrigerator a month ago and completely forgot about. It’s unlikely to cause harm because the odd looking growths on it warn that it is no longer in the category of edible. However, it is something that many of us find on a semi-regular basis.
Past its Limit: They put dates on food for a very good reason. The manufacturers cannot guarantee that the food will be safe to eat/drink after that point in time. This is particularly important of perishables like milk and eggs. Make sure you read the date on the product and consume or throw away before it goes bad.
Undercooked: Do you love rare beef? How about over-easy eggs? If so, you could be in for some serious hurt. Both can contain contaminants. The former has several nasty problems, including e. coli. The latter can cause salmonella. If you want to be sure it’s safe, the beef should be over 165 degrees and the yolk should be firm.
New Tenderizing Methods: Here is where the commonsense meets a new reality. Beef packers are trying to make sure they can market as much of the animal as possible. They have new tenderizing methods using steel blades. That would be great if it didn’t take the contaminants on the meat (such as e. coli) and driving them down into the center of the meat where it’s possible they won’t be killed in the cooking process.
Studies on Meat Safety: This is another little known fact. The meat and poultry you buy in the market may not be safe because of problems with packaging. Beef packing houses have such a problem with fecal contamination some regulators don’t even know where to start. Another study showed that more than 90% of all chicken breasts sold across the U.S. had some form of contaminant.
There are things that we can do. One is to insist that these studies don’t get swept under the rug. If our food supply is in that bad a shape, we need to act now.
The other steps are more practical. Wash meat and poultry before preparing it. Don’t cross-contaminate by using the same knife or cutting board for vegetables after cutting meat. Wash them thoroughly with soap and hot water first. Make sure the meat is cooked until it is done. Even if you love rare beef, driving the porcelain bus is not worth it. Lastly, if you do suspect food poisoning and you know what caused it, report it. You could save someone’s life.