Although competitors try to stay healthy year-round it's so important to stay healthy during contest prep. Becoming sick from improperly prepared meats is the last thing you want to happen. Follow some basic raw meat safety tips to help reduce illness during contest prep and off-season.
Don't rinse meats
Do not rinse raw meats. Although rinsing raw meat is a common practice it spreads bacteria. It does not eliminate or reduce it. Instead, properly cook meats to reduce bacteria.
Keep it clean and start with your hands
Start with washing your hands. Your fingernails can carry bacteria that cause vomiting, influenza, urinary tract disease, and other illnesses.
Use the 20/20 rule. Wash for 20 seconds; rinse for 20 seconds.
Separate ready-to-go items
Separate raw meats from ready-to-go items. For example, freshly sliced produce should not be left on a cutting board with raw meat.
Do not use the same plate for raw and cooked meats
Do not place your cooked meats on the original raw meat plate; unless it's been washed in hot, soapy water. Cooked meats placed directly into raw meat juices will cause bacteria to contaminate it.
Wash all utensils
Wash all utensils used on raw meats with hot, soapy water.
Partial cooking for refrigeration
Don't do it. Partial cooking for refrigeration gives a crusty, flavorful exterior, but it doesn't kill bacteria.
Thaw meats in the refrigerator; not on the counter
Thaw meats in the refrigerator or in cold water; not on the counter. It should never be left out at room temperature. Use a plastic, lidded container so blood does not seep from the wrapping.
Raw meats and marinade
After raw meat has marinated; throw away any leftover marinade. The marinade contains raw meat juices which can cause illness.
Use a meat thermometer
A meat thermometer is a sure way to know if it meat is at the correct serving temperature. Hold hot foods above 140 °F and cold foods below 40 °F to ensure the best food safety.