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Who You Gonna Call?

The Meat and Poultry Hotline team.

If there’s something weird in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters, of course! However, if there is something strange going on with your food, who you gonna call? The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, that’s who!

A Pedigree of Food Safety

The smell in your house could be the result of an angry poltergeist wreaking havoc in your kitchen, or it could also be a result of not following proper food safety guidelines. If the problem happens to be the latter, do not fret. We can help.

The experts at the Meat and Poultry Hotline keep the public safe from foodborne illness when they answer calls about all sorts of food safety topics. Routinely they answer consumers’ questions about recalls and safe internal cooking temperatures. In fact, since its inception in 1985, the Hotline has handled more than 3 million calls from the public.

No Food Safety Issue Is Too Weird for Us

We are here to help get you through any food safety emergency, as well as to answer any food safety questions you may have. Typical questions consumers ask USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline are related to the basics of food safety:

  • Storage time for meat and poultry in the refrigerator and freezer
    • Refrigerator: On average, from 2 to 5 days depending on the type of meat, poultry and type of cut (ground vs steaks or fresh vs previously frozen).
    • Freezer: Food actually remains safe indefinitely while frozen. Flavor however, that’s a different matter. For best flavor, we recommend consuming frozen items within 6 months of freezing.
  • Food items that are safe to defrost on the counter overnight
    • None. Under no circumstance should you defrost food on the counter overnight! 
  • Safe cooking temperature for meat or poultry
    • Meat: if we are talking cuts of meats, chops and steaks then your goal is 145 °F with a 3 minute rest. For ground meats, the number to look for is 160 °F.
    • Poultry: Simple! It is always 165 °F!

The Hotline also receives questions related to food safety during or after a power failure. Additionally, during these long warm days of summer, the Hotline experts are available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about that basket of food you are taking along on your road trip or the rack of ribs you are getting ready to prepare on your grill.

Easy Access for Any Food Safety Emergency

Regardless of where you are or how scary your food safety emergency may be, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is committed to help. Consumers with questions about food safety, can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish. You can also visit FoodSafey.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter to learn more about key food safety practices.

Don’t let your food safety questions continue haunting you. Let the experts at the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline help you get rid of them once and for all.


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Posted in: Food Safety | Kitchen SafetyTagged: Food Prep