"When in doubt, throw it out"…
When handling and preparing raw meat for our carnivore friends, it is of upmost importance to be careful with risks of contamination. Without proper caution in handling, we can infect ourselves and everyone else in the home. Here are a few simple, yet helpful tips for raw food preparation and handling.
1. WASH YOUR HANDS. Always wash your hands before and after raw meat handling. Both poultry and beef carry a risk of Salmonellas and beef may also be contaminated with E. coli. Also, wash cutting boards, utensils, and dishes.
2. BE CAREFUL WITH TRANSMISSION. Be mindful of what you touch and handle with unwashed hands---refrigerator doors, towels, and phones are perfect pathogen transmission vehicles.
3. CLEAN UP AFTERWARDS. Make sure you clean up after the carnivores have eaten. Most cats and dogs will drag food away from the bowl in an instinctual manner. Don't feed them on furniture or carpets unless you're willing to clean up afterwards. Kitchen tiles are great feeding places. Put the bowl down and if the animal drags its prey onto the tile, cleanup will be easy. Clean up right away (using only natural antibacterial sprays and cleaning products), making sure you don't step onto the meat juices and carry them throughout the entire house. Click here to make an all-natural, easy and cheap cleaning spray that is animal, environment, and human friendly.
4. KEEP RAW FOOD SEPARATED. Keep raw meat away from other foods in the refrigerator when thawing or storing. Use a dish or a towel underneath in case blood or raw meat juices leak during the thawing process.
5. KEEP RAW MEAT FROZEN. Keep raw meat frozen until needed. This is a learning process, but once you get into it, it's simple. Depending on the form, size, and type of meat/organ/bone you are feeding, thawing time can range anywhere from 12 to 48, even 72 hours. Plan accordingly. You don't want to leave the meat in the refrigerator too long or feed half frozen raw meat.
6. THAW IN THE REFRIGERATOR. When thawing, only do so in the refrigerator! Do not thaw at room temperature (pathogens multiply at miraculous speed and food spoils). There is a difference in warming food at room temperature (prior to serving) and thawing food.
7. NEVER REFREEZE. Never refreeze raw food after it has been thawed out. Taste and consistency suffer, but mainly, you risk pathogen growth and serious illness and food poisoning.
If you think of more tips not included on the list, post a comment and we'll gladly add it to the list. To find out more about raw meat inspection, click here.