ServSafe MN Guide to Marinades

ServSafe MN Guide to Marinades

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A well-prepared brine or marinade can add moisture and flavor to any restaurant dish or prepared meal, but food-borne illnesses can occur if these brines or marinades are not handled according to ServSafe MN standards. This week, we’d like to take a look at some of the hazards of marinades and how to make sure that marinated proteins are safe to eat.

ServSafe MN and Marinades

Most restaurants use some sort of marinade for meat items on their menu. While these marinades can create outstanding flavors, they can also create genuine risks. The first important thing to remember is that marinades can potentially create a cross-contamination hazard. There are a few simple preventative steps that need to be taken to keep your marinated foods free from harmful contaminates.

  • Never reuse brines or marinades
  • Do not brush used marinades onto cooked or cooking foods
  • Always date marinades

Oftentimes, we’re asked if brines can be reused in order to cut food costs. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea, and reusing a marinade can pose an increased risk of illness. Raw proteins contain bacteria that will mix with your marinade as your meat soaks. As your marinade ages, this bacteria will multiply and become more dangerous. If you were to add new proteins to an old marinade, the existing bacteria will inevitably contaminate the new product posing a significant threat to food safety.

It makes sense to glaze or coat your meats in the same flavors as it was marinated in. If you do this, it is important to note that you must use a fresh marinade or glaze that has never come into contact with raw animal product. If you use the brine that your food has previously soaked in, you are essentially glazing it in the bacteria present in your raw product.

Finally, it is vital that your marinades are always dated with the date the marinade was created and the date that food product began brining. The longer a piece of meat sits in a marinade, the more time bacteria has to grow. Make sure that you know the shelf life of your raw proteins and cook them before they expire. It is also very important to make sure that your marinades are kept under refrigeration if they are made with any perishable food product. Something as simple as leaving a marinade on a counter overnight and using it the next day can create a serious risk to your guests’ health.

Do you use a marinade or brine for any of your dishes? If so, we’d like to know your favorite one. Without exposing any of your secret recipes, leave us a comment below telling us about your best marinated dish.


For over 20 years Safe Food Training has been known as the # 1 provider of food manager certification in Minnesota. We offer both instructor lead and on-line food safety certification courses. Our instructor lead courses are regularly scheduled at several central Minnesota locations. If you have special training requirements, we can even customize ServSafe training for your group. Which ever option is best for you, we would be happy to serve your needs.

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