Foodborne pathogens grow well at room temperatures, but are destroyed by heat above 135 degrees F. For an extra margin of food safety, USDA recommends extra cooking time to be sure the food is at an even safer temperature before consumption.
Food that has been cooked safely reaches a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. Simply looking at a food cannot assure foods have reached a safe internal temperature. Did you know…one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal food temperature (USDA, FSIS)? Research has shown that even though a food looks done, it may still not be cooked to a high enough temperature to eliminate potentially dangerous pathogens. Using a food thermometer is the only safe way to assure foods are cooked to a safe temperature.
69% of Americans surveyed say they own a food thermometer. That is a 21% increase from 1998
Here are some Safe Cooking Temperatures
- Beef, pork, veal, & lamb- steaks, chops, roasts — 160 ºF (71 ºC)
- Ground Meats — 160 ºF (71 ºC)
- All Poultry (chicken, turkey, game birds, etc.) — 165 ºF (74 ºC)
- Fresh Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb — 145 ºF (63 ºC)
- Eggs — 160 ºF (71 ºC)
- Fish & Shellfish — 145 ºF (63 ºC)
- All leftovers & Casseroles — 165 ºF (74 ºC)
It is not only important to cook foods to the proper temperature, but you also have to keep them hot. Hot foods should be kept at a temperature of 140F or higher until they are consumed.
Want to Know More about Cooking Food Safely? Here is more information from the United State Department of Agriculture.
USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service. Cooking Food Safely in the Microwave. (Reference) Accessed September 28, 2014.
USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food Thermometers Are Key to Food Safety. (Reference) Accessed September 28, 2014.