Cleanup and Sanitation Considerations in Meat Grinders
Maintaining a clean and safe work area is very important when dealing with raw meat, making meat grinders one of the few kitchen appliances that are at the highest risk of poor sanitation. Read on to learn about the most important characteristics of an easy-to-clean meat grinder, and how you can ensure the highest level of sanitation in your kitchen.
The Cutting Blades
This is most likely going to be the easiest part of a meat grinder to clean, since virtually every model allows you to detach the blades completely from the body. Stainless steel cutting blades are ideal in terms of sanitation because they are rust resistant and won’t mar very easily. Some models may allow you to place the cutting blades and grinding plates in the dishwasher, though you should check the instructions for each model before doing so to avoid causing any damage.
The Hopper and Feed Tube
When you remove the cutting blades and outer casing, you should also be able to detach the feed tube as well. Some models will have a hopper, which is a tray that is built into the feed tube to hold the meat, though there are many models that have these as two separate components. Running these through the dishwasher can be problematic, as the cylindrical shape makes it hard for the water to reach. For maximum cleanliness, scrub these out first to ensure there is no meat or other residue inside.
You should always wipe down the body of the meat grinder after each use, since there may be food debris that has splattered on it as a result of the grinding, or that may have spilled out of the feed tube. Models with a metal body are the easiest to clean and ideal for high sanitation, since plastic is porous and can hold onto fats and other residue. You should also check around the mechanical components to make sure that there is no meat backed up in the gears, as this will definitely cause issues with its performance or lead to contaminating your future grinds.
The Work Area
Most grinders do not come with any kind of dedicated basket for catching the meat once you grind it, so you should make sure that you choose a model that allows you to easily catch the meat rather than having it spill out onto the countertop. Also remember to look around the base of the grinder to ensure that there are no spills or debris that has built up during use.
A Word on Cross Contamination
If you plan on grinding vegetables or making pasta with your meat grinder after you process meat with it, you should always clean it thoroughly before hand. Many meats contain bacteria that is harmful if consumed raw, and can thus contaminate the other foods and lead to severe health concerns.