Microwave ovens can play an important role at mealtime, but special care must be taken when cooking or reheating meat, poultry, fish, and eggs to make sure they are prepared safely. Microwave ovens can cook unevenly and leave "cold spots," where harmful bacteria can survive. Moreover, utensil used can be harmful if misused. For this reason, it is important to use the following safe microwaving tips to prevent any risk.
1- Arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed.
2- Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap; loosen or vent the lid or wrap to let steam escape. The moist heat that is created will help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking. Cooking bags also provide safe, even cooking.
3- Do not cook large cuts of meat on high power (100%). Large cuts of meat should be cooked on medium power (50%) for longer periods. This allows heat to reach the center without overcooking outer areas.
4- Stir or rotate food midway through the microwaving time to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive, and for more even cooking.
5- When partially cooking food in the microwave oven to finish cooking on the grill or in a conventional oven, it is important to transfer the microwaved food to the other heat source immediately. Never partially cook food and store it for later use.
6- Use a food thermometer or the oven's temperature probe to verify the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Cooking times may vary because ovens vary in power and efficiency. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
7- Cook foods to the following safe minimum internal temperatures:
ü Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 62 °C as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
ü Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 70 °C as measured with a food thermometer.
ü Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 75 °C as measured with a food thermometer. Microwaving stuffed, whole poultry is not recommended. The stuffing might not reach the temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria. Cook stuffing separately to 75 °C.
ü Cook egg dishes and casseroles to 70 °C.
ü Reheat leftovers to 75 °C.