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Food Temperatures

Cooking food safely is a matter of degrees!

Cook It Right . . .
Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time— and at a high enough temperature — to kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. And these temperatures vary, depending on the food.

. . . And Keep It Hot
When serving up hot food buffet-style, remember . . On a buffet table, hot foods should be kept at 140° F or higher. Keep food hot with chafing dishes, crock pots, and warming trays.

3 Sizzling Cooking Tips
  • Thumbs Up for Thermometers — Use a clean food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked foods, to make sure meat, poultry, egg dishes, casseroles, and other foods are cooked all the way through.
  • Microwave Musts — When cooking in a microwave oven, make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive. For best results, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Shake, Rattle, and Roll — Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.

To keep food safe, cook it thoroughly. Always use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the foods below.
Safe-Cooking Temperature Chart
  • Cook beef roasts and steaks to 145° F for medium rare or to 160°F for medium.
  • Cook ground beef to at least 160° F.
  • Cook raw sausages to 160° F.
  • Reheat ready-to-eat sausages to 165° F.
  • Cook pork roasts, chops, or ground patties to 160° F for medium, or 170° F for well done.

  • Cook whole poultry to 180° F.
  • Cook chicken breasts to 170° F.
  • Cook stuffing to 165° F.

  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Don't use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.

  • Cook fish until it's opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  • For food safety reasons, avoid serving uncooked oysters or shellfish. People with liver disorders or weakened immune systems are especially at risk for getting sick.

  • When reheating leftovers, heat them thoroughly to at least 165° F.

    Did You Know?.....
    Only 2% of consumers regularly use a food thermometer when cooking ground meat. -Food Marketing Institute, 1999

    If you have questions or concerns about food safety, contact:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555 or (202) 720-3333 (Washington, DC area). The TTY number for the hearing impaired is (800) 256-7072.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Information Line at (888) SAFE FOOD.

    The Fight BAC!™ Web site at: www.fightbac.org

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All rights reserved.
This document is strictly for informational purposes

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