Why does a vegetarian like me care about meat preparation and production? Well, because I recognise and acknowledge that most people eat meat, and that meat can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. Just as I have the right to not eat meat, you also have the right to eat meat. So in the interest of understanding meat hygiene and safety, here are some meat-related food myths that involve preparation and safety.
One: You Must Wash Meat Thoroughly Before Preparing It
This is not really as necessary as it is made out to be. But I am saying that you should evaluate this on an individual basis. Obviously if the meat has dirt on it, wash it off. Otherwise, just know that some types of meat that has already undergone some type of preparation and cleaning do not have to be washed again. On this note, one thing you must do is ensure you prepare fruits and vegetables separately in order to avoid potential food poisoning.
Two: Foods That “Smells Alright” Can Be Eaten
Seems kind of a different thought from the previous point, right? Well, I am sometimes guilty when it comes to this point with my vegetarian good. The fact is that while some organisms capable of giving you food poisoning also produce a nasty smell, others do not. It’s the same as how some people have BO and some people, for whatever reason, do not seem to produce any smell even after exercising. Same logic.
Three: Meat That Has Been Defrosted Should Not Be Frozen Again
This is a very common point which almost everyone believes. Experts have recently clarified this by stating that as long as the defrosting was done below five degrees Celsius, you should be okay to refreeze it. One thing they also noted was that the quality of the meat reduces each time you refreeze it, pretty much in the same way as beer going flat. If you insist on sticking to the principle of not refreezing defrosted food, perhaps try compartmentalising them before even freezing them?
Four: It’s Okay To Leave “Oily Food” At Room Temperature For Long Periods
Some people believe that oil plays the role of a preservative and can kill bacteria, so it is okay to leave fried food at room temperature. Unfortunately, this is not true. If you think about it, oil is a source of fuel for some bugs. In fact, it’s ability to inhibit oxygen makes it a perfect camping ground for certain bacteria like Clostridium botulinum. So please don’t be fooled by this one. It doesn’t even matter if you have garlic in the oil. Remember – oil is not alcohol, so it cant disinfect.
Five: Cool Food Before Putting Them In The Fridge
Many people believe that hot food should be cooled to room temperature before you can put them in the fridge or freezer. Well, this does not really make sense considering that micro-organisms can reproduce quickly at any temperature between ten and sixty. So why would you take the risk? The only reason to put off sticking food in the fridge immediately is if it is still steaming, and the reason for this is to reduce condensation.
I hope this article has helped you and increased your knowledge about meat and food in general. Remember that a bit of common sense can go a long way, and that just because people have always done things one way doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best way to go about it. Unless you can rationalise how it is done, don’t be scared of challenging those ideas.
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Also published on Medium.
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