The Importance of a Food Thermometer
The only way to ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature, thereby eliminating any harmful bacteria that may be present, is to use a food thermometer. Contaminated food cannot be easily identified visually or even by taste or smell. A food thermometer is needed after food is cooked as well, to ensure the temperature doesn't fall into the "danger zone."
The “danger zone” for perishable foods is between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit. Perishable foods are no longer safe to eat if they have been in this danger zone for more than two hours (one hour in 90° Fahrenheit or above).
Contrary to popular belief, a food thermometer is not just for meat and poultry. A safe minimum internal temperature must be reached to avoid food poisoning in all cooked foods from egg dishes and casseroles to leftovers and microwave meals.
Watch our video on How to Use a Food Thermometer.
|Beef, Pork or Lamb Roasts||Insert in center of the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.|
|Hamburgers, Steaks or Chops||Insert in the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.|
|Whole Poultry||Insert in thickest part of thigh, avoiding bone.|
|Whole Turkey||Insert in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest area, avoiding bone.|
|Poultry Parts||Insert in the thickest area, avoiding bone.|
|Ground Meat and Poultry||Insert in the thickest area of meatloaf or patty; with thin patties, insert sideways reaching the very center with the stem.|
|Egg Dishes and Casseroles||Insert in center or thickest area of the dish.|
|Fish||Insert in the thickest part of fish when fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.|
|Game Animals||Insert in center of the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle.|
|Game Birds||Insert in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.|
Reminders To Prevent Cross-Contamination:
- Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one for holding raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for cooked foods.
- Store raw meats, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don't drip onto other foods.
- Place washed produce into clean storage containers, not back into the original ones.
- Use one utensil to taste and another to stir or mix food.
- Make sure you use clean scissors or blades to open bags of food.
- Wear latex gloves if you have a sore or cut on your hand.
Important Tip: Always remember to wash the thermometer stem thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use.