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Cooking to Temperature Safely

In the second part of our series on food safety we’re going to cover the importance of cooking food to the proper minimum internal temperature. Properly cooking food is one of the easiest ways to minimize pathogens and thus minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

No matter the cooking technique there’s one sure fire way to monitor food’s internal temperature. That’s with a probe thermometer. To properly use a probe thermometer, one must insert the probe into the thickest part of the food item and hold it for a solid 15 seconds. It’s also advised to always take two readings.

A couple of great sources for reliable thermometers include Cooper-Atkins and Taylor Precision. Both manufacturers offer a wide variety of digital and analog thermometers.

Cooper-Atkins’ HACCP Manager is a great tool for taking food temperatures, collecting data and monitoring an operation’s performance over a long period of time. You can read more about the Cooper-Atkins HAACP Manager by clicking here.

For those operations that utilize analog pocket thermometers, Cooper-Atkins also offers The Val-Cup, a simple, sure-fire tool to calibrate thermometers to ensure their accuracy.

Taylor offers a wide range of pocket thermometers. They even have color-coded thermometers so operators can use them for the appropriate food products.

Thermometers are extremely important tools in the foodservice operation. Using them diligently will ensure that food is done to it’s proper minimum internal temperature while minimizing the risk of foodborne illness.

Below is a table illustrating the minimum internal temperatures for common food items.

 Minimum Internal Temperature  Type of Food
 165°F for 15 seconds  Poultry – whole or ground chicken, turkey or duck
 Stuffing made with fish, meat or poultry
 Stuffed meat, seafood, poultry or pasta
 155°F for 15 seconds  Ground meat – beef, pork and others
 Injected meat
 Mechanically tenderized meat
 Ground seafood
 Shell eggs for hot-holding
 145°F for 15 seconds  Seafood
 Steaks/chops
 Shell eggs for immediate service
 145°F for 4 minutes  Roasts – pork, beef, veal or lamb
 135°F  Fruits
 Vegetables
 Grains
 Legumes (beans, refried beans)