As all raw meats can carry harmful bacteria on the outside, it is important to cook all meat properly to kill the bacteria that can cause food poisoning. This section advises you on how to handle and cook meat, and how to check that your meat is fully cooked and safe to eat.
Poultry, pork, rolled joints, burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets, kebabs, kidneys, liver and other types of offal, and any meat or fish that has been minced or skewered. The reason is that with whole cuts of meat, any harmful bacteria will live on the outside only. But if meat has been minced or chopped up, the bacteria get moved around.
An alternative to the above checks would be to use a meat thermometer.
A meat thermometer measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry, or any casseroles, to assure that a safe temperature has been reached and that harmful bacteria have been destroyed.
Poultry and pork products; minced meat or any type of product made from minced meat (e.g. sausages, burgers); and meats which have been rolled or de-boned or composed of reformed meat pieces, must be cooked to a core temperature of at least 70°C for 2 minutes or equivalent (75°C instantaneously i.e. the immediate temperature reading obtained on inserting a temperature probe into the centre of the food).
Whole fish may be cooked to preference, but products made of minced fish (e.g. fish cakes) should always be cooked to a core temperature of at least 70°C for 2 minutes or equivalent (75°C instantaneously).
Where to insert the meat thermometer:
After each use, always wash the stem section of the meat thermometer thoroughly in hot, soapy water.
Beef steaks, whole joints of beef, lamb chops, whole joints of lamb.
These can be eaten rare in the middle because harmful bacteria can only be on the outside. Vulnerable people, including elderly people, babies and toddlers, pregnant women and people who are unwell, should avoid eating lamb or beef that is rare or pink.
When you are cooking steaks, or whole joints of beef or lamb, pink or rare, use a high temperature to seal the meat and kill any bacteria that might be on the outside
You can tell a piece of meat has been properly sealed because all the outside will have changed colour
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat. This prevents the spread of bacteria.
Use separate utensils for raw or partially cooked meat and cooked meat.