In a restaurant, it is more important to properly handle and prepare meat than anywhere. Otherwise unsanitary conditions may lead to the spread of pathogens. Restaurant employees and customers can be put at risk, among others if any food-borne illnesses spread.

Employees should wash their hands often when preparing meat. Since germs can spread so easily. The meat should be handled on surfaces different from other foods and materials. Keep vegetables away from meat prep areas. Also clean all utensils that come into contact with any raw meats and different ones must be used for serving.

FoodSafety.gov has many guidelines for preparing meat. You want the temperature to be hotter at the center but the type also dictates what temperature is best. Fresh, whole meats should be cooked at 145°F and ground beef, pork, or lamb should be at 160°F. For poultry, 165°F is best.

By giving whole meats time to rest, more bacteria can be killed, but you also have to understand what rare to well-done means. Meat thermometers will help determine what level the meat is at. Lower temperatures are suited for rare meat, but you want to cook at higher temperatures the more well-done you want it to be. Steaks, for example, can be rare, but pork and poultry should never be served that way.

Proper storage is essential if you want to prepare meat safely. Uncured raw meat will last about three days when refrigerated, longer if frozen. Meats should be sealed in airtight packages, if you’re going to freeze them. Freezing extends the shelf life. You can store uncooked poultry for up to a year whole and an uncooked steak for up to 12 months. Uncooked ground beef stays good for three to four months while hot dogs are okay for a month or two.

Follow these rules and your staff and customers will be free of food-borne illnesses.