When it comes to cooking meat, there are two main things to look out for…cross contamination and the temperature danger zone. Andrew Glidden, a hospitality professor for Mohawk Valley Community College, explains what that is.
“The food temperature danger zone according to the USDA is 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140. That means that’s when bacteria will thrive and bacteria can double like, every twenty minutes. so you want to keep that food out of the danger zone,” Glidden said.
To keep food out of that zone, Glidden says to consistently check it with a thermometer. But don’t forget to put it in a safe place right after.
“You don’t think about it. You’ll take the temperature of the chicken and it’s like 130 degrees and you’re like that’s not even close to being done and then you put it back in your pocket and then you throw that into that meat and then you’ve got that cross contamination,” Glidden said.
Glidden says you should also be extra careful when dealing with ground meat.
“The problem with the hamburger, you have to be more worried with the hamburger than the steak because that’s been ground. when you ground up that meat, you can introduce bacteria to the meat where the whole piece of meat wont have that bacteria that’s in it, ” Glidden said.
But the good news is if you’re keeping these tips in mind, Glidden says you’ll be in the clear.
“Just to work clean and to keep yourself clean. Wash your hands, wash your equipment, sanitize the equipment. and if you can do that and keep it at that proper temperature, then you’ll be fine from any food borne illness,” Glidden said.