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Stand-Up Training: Raw Meat Safety

Food handler cooking hamburger patties on the grill

Empower Employees Through Food Safety Training

Foodborne germs like E. coli and Salmonella occur naturally in animals’ digestive tracts, which is why they’re often found in raw meat. Teaching your employees how to handle raw meat safely will go a long way toward preventing foodborne illness at your establishment.

Learning Objectives

You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

After this training, employees will be able to:

  • Evaluate raw meat shipments for freshness
  • Describe how to store raw meats without contaminating other stored foods
  • Prepare raw meat without contaminating other foods
  • Describe the proper cooking temperatures for each type of raw food product

The Facts

You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

  • Frozen meat should be received frozen; refrigerated meat should be received at or below 41°F (5°C).
  • Organize food storage by cooking temperature, with foods that require the most cooking at the bottom.
  • Always keep raw meat separate from other foods.
  • After working with raw meat, wash your hands, put on fresh gloves, and clean and sanitize your work area, along with any utensils and equipment you used.
  • Meat must be cooked to the FDA’s recommended cooking temperatures to kill pathogens and help prevent foodborne illness.

Training Activities

Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.

Receiving Meat

Discuss: What are some warning signs you can look for that indicate raw meat wasn’t shipped properly? You may want to mention the following signs:

  • Frozen meat has ice crystals in the packaging, indicating that it was thawed and refrozen during transport.
  • There’s liquid in a frozen meat package or water damage to the box.
  • When you press your finger on meat, it leaves an indentation.
  • Refrigerated meat arrives at a temperature greater than 41°F (5°C).
  • Refrigerated meat appears sticky or slimy.
  • The packaging is damaged in a way that exposes the meat.
  • The meat has an unusual color or strong odor.

Watch (optional): Receiving video

Share (optional): Invite workers to fill out a Receiving Temperature Log whenever they inspect a shipment.

Food Storage Organization Challenge

Challenge: Hand out paper and writing utensils to each employee. Ask them to write or draw how to organize food shelves to prevent cross-contamination. Set a timer for 30-60 seconds. When the timer goes off, discuss what your employees came up with.

Display (optional): Post the Refrigerator Storage Chart in the food storage area to remind your employees how to store food safely.

Preventing Cross-Contamination

Discuss: What can we do to prevent meat from cross-contaminating other foods? Make sure the discussion covers food storage and preparation tips. If you work in a retail setting, also discuss how to display raw meat safely.

Record (optional): Write down any new ideas that are generated during the discussion and put them into practice.

Display (optional): Print the Cooking Times and Temperatures Poster and hang it up in your establishment so employees can reference it as needed.

Following Up

How your employees handle raw meat can be a big part of what health inspectors grade during an inspection. Specifically, the FDA recommends inspectors check that they are:

  • Keeping raw meat separate from other foods during storage, preparation, and display
  • Thawing raw meat using a safe method
  • Keeping food-contact surfaces clean and sanitized
  • Cooking meat to recommended temperatures

In addition to observing your employees while they work, an inspector may ask them to describe processes they use to handle raw meat safely.

You can help prepare your employees for your next health inspection by watching what they do and offering tips for improvement. Praise good behavior. As needed, review this training with your employees.

Training Resources

The Receiving video will help teach your employees basic guidelines for inspecting and receiving food. View the Spanish version of this video: Recibiendo.

Use the Receiving Temperature Log to help remind employees to check the temperature of incoming shipments and keep a record of food shipment temperatures.

Hang up the Refrigerator Storage Chart in your food storage area as a reminder of how to organize food to prevent cross-contamination.

Post the Cooking Times and Temperatures Poster in your establishment to help employees remember the proper cooking temperature for different meats.

Did you use this stand-up training in your establishment? We’d love to get your feedback! Take a minute to do our feedback survey.

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— Jessica Pettit

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