A recent ground turkey recall due to an outbreak of Salmonella has been in the news, which reminded us that it’s always important to keep food safety top of mind when preparing any food in your home, especially fresh meats like our pork and chicken sausage. Whether it’s a grilled sausage sandwich or a savory pasta sauce, the peace of mind from knowing you handled and cooked the sausage properly will make it that much more enjoyable!
The USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends the following guidelines for preventing Salmonella:
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
- Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
- Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked.
- Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
- Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for ground meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
- Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
A lot of this is common sense, but it’s always a good idea to remind ourselves of these guidelines once in a while. We also think one of the best tools you can have in the kitchen is a good digital thermometer – get one that will give you an instant temperature reading (we like this one). Making sure your fresh sausage is cooked to the proper temperature will help you and your family enjoy the meal worry-free!