Article Layout: Cook

Cook

You can’t rely on color and texture alone to tell if your food is done and safe to eat. Find out how to tell if your food is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.

Cook: The Basics

Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that causes food poisoning. While many think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps.

Use a food thermometer. Food thermometers are extremely important as they are the only way to ensure food is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. To find which temperature to cook meats and other foods, consult this chart or the Is My Food Safe? app. Follow these six steps for correct use of this essential kitchen tool. 

Bacteria multiplies quickest when in the “danger zone,” between 40°F to 140°F, so keep food out of this range. Keep food hot after cooking, so it doesn’t fall below 140°F. Use a heat source like a chafing dish, warming tray or slow cooker to keep food from cooling.

Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
 
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