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How to Properly Handle Raw Meat Bought Home? Avoid These Common Mistakes

If the raw meat you buy at home looks bloody and slippery to the touch, you will naturally rinse it with the tap. In fact, it is not safe to do so.

Many food materials naturally carry Salmonella and Campylobacter. For example, Salmonella and Campylobacter have a “symbiotic” relationship with chickens, that is, chickens carry these bacteria but are not affected. However, if humans come into contact with some strains of Salmonella and Campylobacter through chicken, they will Possible food poisoning, such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

During the process of rinsing raw meat under the faucet, the pathogenic bacteria on the raw meat can contaminate other surfaces or items in the kitchen with the splashing water droplets, such as sinks, table tops, pots and pans, etc., thereby increasing food safety risks. This cross-contamination process has a scientific name: splash contamination.

An experiment once found that when raw meat is rinsed under the faucet, water droplets can splash more than 50 centimeters in all directions. Only a small amount of pathogenic bacteria can cause food poisoning.

Therefore, when you buy raw meat at home, do not rinse it under the tap.

How to wash raw meat safely?

You may have seen some answers on the Internet, such as washing in a basin and cleaning the basin and hands carefully after washing. There is nothing wrong with these in theory. In fact, if you can really thoroughly clean all surfaces or containers that may be contaminated, then there is no problem even if you rinse them with the faucet.

However, from a practical perspective, these methods of washing meat are not ideal. Firstly, after washing the meat, you need to clean the recipe carefully in a large area; secondly, no matter how careful you are, the process of washing raw meat is always a process that increases food safety risks. The more you wash, the higher the risk.

For raw meat, it is safer not to wash it.

The key to eating meat safely does not lie in the cleaning steps before cooking, but in the high-temperature cooking process.

Washing with water can indeed remove some pathogenic bacteria on raw meat, but it cannot completely kill pathogenic bacteria or disease-causing microorganisms. What really kills the disease-causing bacteria or microorganisms is the process of thorough cooking at high temperatures.

Just make sure you buy fresh meat from regular channels and do not need to wash it before cooking. From a food safety perspective, it is safe to eat if it is cooked thoroughly.

So how do you know if the meat you buy comes from regular channels? What if there is something wrong with the meat you buy?

If there is something wrong with the meat you buy, cleaning it will not make it safer. On the contrary, the pathogenic bacteria on the unsafe meat will also be spread during the cleaning process, causing contamination.

Therefore, from a food safety perspective, raw meat does not need to be washed. If you have to wash it from the perspective of personal psychological acceptance, you should pay special attention to the cleaning steps after washing the raw meat, such as thoroughly cleaning all possible contaminated expressions and containers. In fact, if you just want to wash off the slippery liquid on raw meat, just wipe it dry with disposable kitchen paper.

Finally, regarding safe eating of meat, please note:

  • Place purchased raw meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent blood or seepage from the raw meat from contaminating other foods in the refrigerator;
  • Cook meat thoroughly;
  • Keep raw meat and cooked food completely separate;
  • All utensils and table tops that have come into contact with raw meat must be cleaned thoroughly and promptly;
  • Hands that have handled raw meat must be washed carefully and properly.

To sum up, raw meat does not need to be washed. Washing will not only make it safer, but will also increase food safety risks. It is safer to leave raw meat unwashed.