PRINCETON, Ky. — The farmers of the Kentucky Soybean Board are looking forward to the holiday weekend. A favorite summer activity is, of course, grilling with family and friends. Did you know that livestock and poultry are the soybean farmers’ number one customer? Consuming 97 percent of domestic soybean meal, the livestock and poultry industries are vital to the success of Kentucky’s soybean farmers.
Whether your holiday grilling plans include hamburgers and hot dogs, steaks and sausage, or chicken and chops, food safety is an important issue, especially on hot days. Some important tips include:
Wash your hands. We should all be pros at this, given the recent pandemic, but washing hands frequently and thoroughly is important in preventing foodborne illnesses.
Keep raw food separate from cooked food. Keep meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep meat at 40° or below in an insulated cooler. Don’t use a plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood for cooked food until it’s been washed in hot, soapy water.
Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. While marinades are a great way to impart flavor and tenderness, raw meat sitting out on the counter invites bacteria. Also, if you use marinade to baste meat or as a finishing sauce, keep a portion in reserve for these purposes rather than using marinade that has been in contact with raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly to kill any bacteria that might be present. Use a food thermometer, because you can’t see “done.”
160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
145°F for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque
Steaks are a topic of much discussion – when is it “done?” That depends on personal preference, according to the Certified Angus Beef website, certifiedangusbeef.com. Steaks, whatever their degree of doneness, should be removed from the heat to rest when the temperature registers 5 degrees lower than desired doneness when tested with a meat thermometer. Desired doneness temperatures are listed below.*
Rare (cool red center) 125°
Medium Rare (warm red center) 135°
Medium (warm pink center) 145°
Medium Well (slightly pink center) 150°
Well Done (little or no pink) 160°
Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Did you know that most of your favorite slaw, potato salad, pasta salad, and even salad dressings are made with soybean oil? Commonly labeled vegetable oil in the grocery store, soybean oil is a key ingredient in the smooth, creamy dressings and sauces we all enjoy. Keeping cold foods at or below 40 degrees is key. Place foods like chicken salad and desserts that are in individual serving dishes directly on ice or in a shallow container set deep in a pan filled with ice, draining off water and replacing ice frequently.
Just remember that whatever kind of meat you enjoy this holiday weekend, it was brought to you by farm families. Whether you buy your meat directly from a farmer, at a meat market or the grocery store, you can count on these farm families to provide safe, affordable, nutritious and delicious meat for your family.
Some of the food safety information was gathered from the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Health and Human Services. *The USDA recommends that steaks and roasts be cooked to 145° (medium) and rested for at least three minutes.
— Kentucky Soybean Board and Association
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