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Foods -- Meat and Poultry

How do I know if smoked meat is partially or fully cooked if it is not stated on the label?

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To begin with, you should try to get the information from the processor. If you can't find out from the source, then examine a visible bone. If it protrudes from the surface of the flesh, the meat has been cooked to some degree. As the meat cooks, the flesh shrinks, but not the bone. This only works if you are viewing a bone that was exposed during the cooking process. If a smoked ham was cut in half (cross-sectioned) after cooking, the bone will be flush with the flesh and you won't be able to tell if shrinkage has occurred. In that case, you have to assume that the meat needs further cooking before eating. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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