Color and texture are unreliable indicators of whether cooked foods are safe to eat. Using a food thermometer is the only way to make sure cooked foods have reached an internal temperature high enough to kill harmful microorganisms.

Generally, the food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not touch bone, fat, or gristle.  The following safe minimum temperatures are recommended to kill harmful microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses.

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F. Allow the meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or consuming. Fish should also be cooked to 145°F.
  • Ground beef, pork, and lamb. as well as egg dishes, should be cooked to 160°F. 
  • Cook all poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. 
  • Leftovers, casseroles, and any mixed meat dishes should also be cooked to 165°F.

A food thermometer should also be used to ensure cooked food is held at a safe temperature until served. Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below. Hot food should be kept at 140°F or above.

In This Article

  1. Food Safety and Defense

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