Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish to guarantee food safety

March 17, 2016

While a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage may bring you the “luck of the Irish,” on St. Patrick’s Day, you can’t rely on good luck to ensure that your meal is properly prepared and safe to eat. Instead, follow these tips provided by Food Safety News, to make sure that you and your guests don’t turn green with food poisoning.

Package Dating and Storage Times

If you buy uncooked corned beef in a pouch with pickling juices that has a “sell-by” date or no date, it is safe to store it for five to seven days in the refrigerator, unopened. If you buy products with a “use-by” date, you should store it unopened in the refrigerator and prepare it by that date.


Corned beef is made from one of several less tender cuts of beef such as the brisket, rump or round. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking. According to the article, it can be cooked on top of the stove or in the oven, microwave, or slow cooker. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not recommend one particular cooking method as best, but does provide directions for cooking here.

Whatever method you use, make sure that the corned beef reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of at least 160°F.

Corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking because nitrite is used in the curing process. This fixes pigment in the meat and affects the color. While the pink color may lead you to believe the meat is not done, checking the temperature will ensure it is safe to eat.

In addition, the USDA recommends that the brisket stands for about 20 minutes after removing from the heat. This will make it easier to slice, and it is best sliced diagonally across the grain of the meat.

Cooking Ahead

It’s safe to cook corned beef ahead of time. After cooking, cut it into several pieces or slices for faster cooling. Place the beef in shallow containers and cool it in the refrigerator quickly.


Leftover corned beef should be sliced and refrigerated promptly — within two hours of cooking or reheating. It is safe to consume cooked-ahead or leftover corned beef within three to four days or freeze for up to two to three months.

For more information, click here.

Looking for a corned beef and cabbage recipe? Try this one.


Category: Food Safety, Food & Beverage, Microbiology, Pathogens