Everyone wants to eat right. We all want to get the healthiest foods from our local market. Unfortunately, there are many times when what we thought was fresh and healthy wasn’t the case.
One of the best places to get locally sourced, fresh meat products is your local butcher shop. However, for many, butcher shops are intimidating. In today’s post, we’ll share helpful tips on how to choose the right butchers and how to tell if your local butcher shop is operating correctly.
We have gathered a list of essential criteria that we expect from local butchers; so you can get the healthiest and freshest meat to bring home to your family.
Keep these considerations in mind next time you’re on the hunt for a local butcher.
Practice Cleanliness at All Times
Bacteria grows on meat at an excessively rapid pace. Thus, butchers need to practice a high level of cleanliness and sanitation to avoid any contamination.
Keeping the shop pest free, thoroughly cleaning all surfaces and counters, sharpening the knives, and maintaining the machinery are some of the essential cleanliness and sanitation steps every butcher shop owners must take.
Rags and aprons covered in blood should be cleaned thoroughly. We advise to keep them out of your customers’ sight at all times.
Regularly clean your shelves and display cases where you keep your meat products. Butchers should wear plastic gloves every time they’re handling the meats.
If your local butcher shop sells both raw and cooked products, check that they are not stored and displayed in the same section of the store. Raw and cooked products shouldn’t be side by side and must not touch each other.
Additionally, butchers should group the same kinds of meat products together: beef with beef, pork with pork, poultry with poultry – you get the idea. This step avoids cross-contamination.
Everyone at the shop – whether it’s the butchers or the store staff – must take their personal hygiene seriously. Unbound hair and beard, open wounds, or sickness can all contribute to meat contamination.
Transparency and Honest Communication
Butchers must be able to disclose where their meat products come from. Do they work with local farmers? How as the animals’ diet? Was it grass-fed or grain?
Can they give expert recommendations about different cuts of meat? Can they share recipes you can do with these meats?
Good butchers must be willing to talk about answer these types of questions. They are part of a trade that naturally makes consumers curious about what they can do with the products. Talking about the products will also help decide consumers what to purchase.
Additionally, if they are open to having discussions with their customers, it will most likely create a good business relationship that’s beneficial for both parties.
Many supermarkets and butcher shops procure their meat already boxed up and vacuum sealed ready for shipment. Because of this practice, they wouldn’t know how old the meat is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t concern them as long as they get a good deal on it.
Once they receive the shipment, take it out of the packaging, and put it up for sale at their shop, the unsuspecting customers wouldn’t know how long the meat products have been circulating in the market.
To ensure the freshness of your meat products, choose butchers that are known to buy the animals whole. This lets them know the cuts, and how old each cut is, and how long it has been up for sale on the shelves.
The Latest Refrigeration, Storage, and Machinery
Quality machinery should be used at butcher shops. Sharpened, well-maintained blades are recommended to avoid bruising the meat. Proper storage and refrigeration should also be practiced to avoid contamination. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, contamination can begin when meat products reach a temperature of over 5 degrees Celsius.
Reliable and competent butchers are proactive in keeping contamination from happening with their premises. They also know the local and national guidelines they need to follow when it comes to handling, selling, and serving food products.
We hope you find useful information in today’s article. These tips serve as consumers’ blueprint when it comes to what their local butchers must adhere to. Get the best-quality meat from your trusted local butcher shop.