The North American Meat Institute Foundation released a new video demonstrating safe preparation of frozen, raw, stuffed meat and poultry products as part of September’s Food Safety Education Month. These products, which are commonly raw when purchased, are popular with consumers for their convenience and taste, but because the products are often breaded on the outside, and shown cooked on the package front, some consumers assume they are pre-cooked and simply need reheating, which is not necessarily true.
“While frozen, stuffed meat and poultry products have a strong safety record, we want to ensure that consumers have all the information they need to ensure these products are not just delicious, but safe when served,’ said Betsy Booren, Ph.D., President of the North American Meat Institute Foundation. “Through safe food handling practices and following the cooking instructions on the package, people can ensure the products are safe to eat.”
The video, part of NAMIF’s “Ask the Meat Scientist” series, explains the instructions on frozen, raw, stuffed meat and poultry products which outline the appropriate cooking time and temperature as well as thermometer placement. Proper thermometer placement is important since the stuffing in the middle of the product may be hotter than the meat surrounding it. Poultry products should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees F and intact beef and pork cooked to 145 degrees F with a three minute rest period.
“The ideal thermometer placement for stuffed products is in the meat just above the stuffing since this is the last to cook,” said Dr. Booren. “USDA also recommends testing the temperature in a few different spots to ensure the entire product reaches the proper temperature.”
The video also outlines basic food safety practices including washing hands before handling food, use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat products, cooking meat and poultry thoroughly using a meat thermometer to check the proper temperature and refrigerate cooked products within two hours.
Research from the International Food Information Council Foundation finds that thermometer use is the single food safety practice that could use the most improvement as less than a third of Americans regularly use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of meat and poultry. The NAMIF “Ask the Meat Scientist” series includes several videos on how to properly use a meat thermometer in a variety of products that it will highlight throughout Food Safety Education Month. Other videos include tips on cooking burgers and steaks safely and evaluating the freshness of meat. All of the videos are available on the Meat News Network YouTube channel.