As an illustration of severity, after nearly 300 people from 18 different states became sick from salmonella. A crisis broke out and a public health alert was issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. The perpetrator was raw chicken manufactured in California at three facilities owned by Foster Farms. Fortunately, there are ways to properly handle poultry to improve public safety and prevent serious illnesses like salmonella. Restaurants can maintain safe poultry handling procedures by following these simple food safety rules.
Defrosting Poultry Properly
The days of defrosting your poultry overnight on the countertop are long gone. It’s important to remember that just one bacterium has the ability to multiply to one billion in as little as 10 hours. This is something you want to try to avoid at all cost, especially in a licensed commercialized kitchen.
In order to properly defrost poultry, simply place it on a tray and put it in the refrigerator the night before. Smaller pieces of poultry can be defrosted in the microwave using the defrost button; however, they must be cooked immediately afterward.
Proper Storage of Poultry
When placing raw poultry into the refrigerator, ensure that it’s wrapped and placed on a lower shelf. Cooking is the only thing that will kill the bacteria.
Foods that are already cooked or any form of vegetables, fruits, and cheese needs to be above the raw poultry. The reason for this is to prevent the raw poultry juices from dripping on other food items that can cause a bacterial manifestation.
Do Not Rinse Poultry
Recent studies have produced data that revealed about 90 percent of people still rinse poultry. The USDA updated their dietary guidelines in 2005, and they highly advise against rinsing raw poultry before cooking. The reason is simple, the juices produced by raw poultry will splash on other dishes, the countertops, and inside of the sink. This creates a bacterial playground and a haven for all sorts of dangerous illnesses.
Designate Separate Cutting Boards
Cutting raw poultry on the same cutting board where vegetables and dairy products are prepped is a sure fire way of getting cross contamination. It’s a good idea for restaurants to use color-coded synthetic cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination.
Additionally, they should be sanitized in a quality dishwasher that produces enough heat to kill bacteria. This is a common procedure at every major poultry wholesale manufacturing facility. Another key point is to sanitize your cutting boards before prepping different food on them and to sanitize the countertop as well as the employee’s hands, each and every time.
Cooking the Poultry Properly
One of the worse ways to determine if the poultry is done is not by the color of the meat. It is safer to use a thermometer in the thickest part of the poultry and make sure it reaches 165º Fahrenheit. This ensures that all of the bacteria are destroyed and the poultry is safe enough to eat. It’s important for restaurants to properly handle poultry from the point of being received frozen all the way to the dinner plate.