DA: Chilled meat, better and safer

Apr. 17, 2010

DAVAO CITY—People usually buy warm meat or fresh meat taken directly from slaughter houses believing that it is fresher than its chilled counterpart. But chilled meat is actually better and safer.

According to a primer of the National Meat Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture in region 11, the best prevention for food borne diseases is to chill uncooked and cooked food in the refrigerator. Chilled meat has a longer shelf life and slows down bacterial growth, which causes spoilage.

The primer says that chilled meat is better because cold temperatures maintain and preserve the meat’s freshness, eating quality and nutritional value. Growth of bacteria is suppressed in low temperatures.

It adds that the lower temperature helps reduce the risk of food poisoning. Food not stored in refrigerators can contribute to the rapid increase of bacteria, which can multiply to dangerous levels.

However, the primer says that it does not necessarily mean that chilling meat can kill bacteria. It can only slow down the growth of bacteria and the chemical changes that can cause deterioration on the quality of meat.

The primer also teaches consumers on selecting good meat. It said to assess its appearance and smell — pork should be pinkish and firm. It adds that the meat’s color should not be too dark or too light and that the fat should be white and the skin should not be sticky.

Finally, the primer teaches some basic tips in ensuring that meat is kept safe. “Keep it clean, keep it cool, store it carefully, use your freezer and refrigerator correctly and make sure to cook it thoroughly,” it advised. (PIA XI)

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