Originally Posted by anni
I never prestuff my turkey before roasting for safety reasons.
My question is how come they sell pre-stuffed chickens, pork chops, flank steak, etc. in the fresh prepared foods part of the grocery store? How can that be safe?
There is nothing inherently unsafe about stuffing meats. It certainly isn't any safer to stuff your meat at home than buying it stuffed. It is all about making sure you reach the proper temperature internally in the meat AND the stuffing.
Pork and beef are not much of an issue as you are stuffing the inside of the actual muscle, which is likely to be free of pathogens.
Stuffing the intestinal cavity of poultry, however is another story, at it is highly likely to contain Salmonella organisms from the preparation process. The larger the bird, the larger the potential.
So chickens are safer to stuff than Turkeys. This is even truer today as turkeys have been bread to cook in much less time than when I was growing up. Getting up at 4 in the morning to put the turkey in now gives you a fully cooked turkey at about 7:30
Unfortunately, some birds will be fully cooked before the stuffing inside reaches 165 degrees minimum. That is where the danger comes in.
The absolute best thing a home cook can learn to do is to use an instant read thermometer and use it often to check temps of cooked foods as they come out of the oven/grill/microwave/ fry pan.
And even better choice for many dishes is a thermometer that inserts into the food and plugs into a unit outside the oven that you can set for a specific temp.
As to why do they do it. Money. You take a $.98 per pound 5 lb chicken, add $.30 worth of stuffing, and sell it for $9 or $10.