Source: RLS Media
Long days, hot temperatures and family gatherings will soon return to America’s backyards. Also returning are traditions such as roasting a whole pig.
Over the past few years, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks associated with pig roasts in several states. Pig roasting requires a lot of planning before, during and after the meal to ensure food safety.
Here’s what to know about purchasing a pig for roasting:
– Obtain your pig from a reputable supplier.
– Have the supplier wrap the pig in plastic to contain the juices.
– Use ice to maintain temperature during transport and until it is time to cook.
– If you cannot keep the pig refrigerated or on ice, pick it up just before you are ready to cook.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds pig roasting cooks to follow the four food safety steps:
Clean: Anything that comes into contact with the whole pig should be washed with hot soapy water afterward (hands, utensils and surfaces).
Separate: Use different cutting boards when preparing meat, vegetables and ready-to eat-food. Don’t cross-contaminate.
Cook: FSIS recommends that pork products be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F with a 3-minute rest time. Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in several places.
Chill: Serve the meat you carve within 1-2 hours. After you have served your guests, remove the remaining portions from the cooked pig, pack them into shallow containers, and refrigerate within 1-2 hours.
Don’t have a food thermometer? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to receive a free one.
You can also use the phone number above to talk with a food safety expert. Or you can chat online live at Ask.USDA.gov, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.