The Trouble with Poultry

Poultry can be a hotbed of microbial activity.  With the rise of ground poultry on the table – such as in turkey burgers – it is important that those who prepare poultry be certain that it is stored and cooked properly.


It is also important that the processors take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the meat.


There is a particular issue with ground poultry.  While whole poultry may have some pathogens on a particular section of the meat, grinding it disperses the pathogens throughout the whole product.


When a restaurant, consumer, or processor chooses to grind poultry meat, important steps must be taken.  The meat should be kept cold throughout the entire grinding process.


The process of grinding meat causes friction which could raise the temperature of the batch.  Bacteria tend to grow rapidly at temperatures above 41 F, the beginning of the infamous “danger zone.”  While grinding, the temperature should remain below the zone.


It is also important to use quality meat when grinding.  Because the grinding process distributes pathogens throughout the whole lot, it would make sense to start with meat that has as little pathogens as possible.  Thus, it is important to ensure the poultry being ground is as above board as possible.


It should also go without saying that the equipment used needs to be cleaned properly.  This not only includes the grinding equipment, but also any other equipment used in the formation of ground meat products . . . patty makers, for instance.


It doesn’t take a drastic change in measures to ensure meat is safe.  A sound and clean kitchen using quality ingredients and sound safety practices is one of the best ways to keep food borne illnesses at bay, even those that can come from poultry.


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