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Script: Let's Talk Beef

 

Podcasts
Script: – Let’s Talk Beef
Intro:
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.

Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during a power outage.

So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.

Host:
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. I’m your host for this segment. With me today is Tina Hanes, technical information specialist from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Tina and I will discuss the safe handling and cooking of beef.

Hello Tina, welcome to the show.

Guest:
Thank you Kathy. First, I would like to say that this podcast is about whole muscle beef, like steaks and roasts and not ground beef. For information about ground beef, listen to “Focus on Ground Beef” available as part of this "Food Safety at Home” series.

Host:
Tina, let’s talk about what consumers should look for when shopping for cuts of beef. Is all beef inspected and graded and what are the different beef grades that a consumer would find in the store?

Guest:
Inspection is a food safety process that is mandatory for beef. Grading is voluntary and focuses on the meat’s quality, not safety. Most of the beef sold at retail food stores is graded USDA Prime, Choice, or Select. Stores may use other terms which differ from USDA grades.

USDA Prime beef makes up about two percent of graded beef. It has more marbling, so it’s the most tender and flavorful. Most USDA Prime beef goes to restaurants.

Host:
What is marbling and why is it important?

Guest:
Marbling is white flecks of fat within the meat muscle. The greater amount of marbling in beef, the higher the grade because marbling makes beef more tender, flavorful, and juicy.

Host:
Explain more about the different cuts of beef found in retail stores.

Guest:
Beef is separated into four major cuts known as primal cuts. They are: chuck, loin, rib and round. It’s recommended that packages of fresh beef be labeled to identify the primal cut as well as the type of product, such as “chuck roast” or “round steak.” This helps you determine the best way to cook it.

Generally, chuck and round are less tender and require moist heat such as braising, and loin and rib can be cooked by dry heat methods such as broiling or grilling.

Host:
Some stores sell aged beef. What is that?

Guest:
Beef is aged to develop additional tenderness and flavor. It is done commercially under controlled temperatures and humidity. Since aging can take from ten days to six weeks, USDA does not recommend aging beef in a home refrigerator.

Host:
How long can I store beef once I get it home?

Guest:
When buying raw beef, select it just before checking out at the register. If available, put the packages of raw beef in disposable plastic bags, to contain any leaks which could cross-contaminate other foods in your cart.

Take beef home immediately and refrigerate it at forty degrees Fahrenheit and use it within three to five days or freeze it at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If kept frozen continuously it will be safe indefinitely.

It is safe to freeze beef in its original packaging or to repackage it. However, for long-term freezing, overwrap the porous store plastic with aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer-weight plastic wrap to prevent freezer-burn.

Host:
What about precooking beef for grilling? Some consumers like to do this to reduce grilling time. Is that safe?

Guest:
It is safe to partially pre-cook or microwave beef if it will be immediately transferred to a hot grill to finish cooking. Never brown or partially cook beef to refrigerate and finish cooking later because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed.

Host:
You can learn more about the safe handling of beef and find the recommended safe minimum internal cooking temperatures for meat and poultry on the FSIS Web site at: www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask Karen” at askkaren.gov.

Guest:
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888- MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.

Host:
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Tina Hanes from the FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Thanks Tina, for the helpful information about beef. I’m Kathy Bernard, and I’d like to thank you for joining us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe.”

Outro:
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of food safety at home!

For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.

You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative "ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .

Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to podcast@fsis.usda.gov.
Thanks for tuning in.

Last Modified Nov 08, 2013