All ground meat, whether it’s made from beef, bison (buffalo), lamb, pork, veal, chicken or turkey, requires careful handling. Because it’s especially vulnerable to bacterial contamination, keep the following in mind:
- Cook or freeze fresh ground meat within 24 hours of purchase.
- Thaw frozen ground meat in the refrigerator and use when it still contains some ice crystals.
- Do not combine raw ground meat with other ingredients and freeze for cooking later.
- Thoroughly cook all ground meat to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present.
- Never partially cook ground meat to finish cooking later.
- Don't guess at the doneness of cooked burgers. Instead, check the internal temperature of a burger by inserting an instant-read meat thermometer horizontally into the centre of the burger.
- Don’t re-contaminate cooked ground meat. Always place cooked items, such as hamburger patties, on a clean plate.
- Cooked ground meat patties may be frozen for up to four weeks.