You can’t tell if a food is safely cooked by sight, smell or even taste. A food thermometer is the only way to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature and harmful bacteria are eliminated.
Food thermometer placement is extremely important in order to guarantee your food is cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not be touching bone, fat or gristle. Begin checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before the food is expected to be “done.” Note that for safety and quality, meat must rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
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.|
Wait the recommended amount of time for your type of thermometer. For meat products including raw beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks, chops and roasts, use the food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
Know the safe internal temperature. Using a food thermometer is only half the equation. Compare your thermometer reading to below chart to be sure it’s reached a safe temperature.
Don’t rely upon sight, smell or taste alone to determine if your food is safe to eat. Make sure foods are cooked to a safe minimum internal cooking temperature by using the chart below and testing the food with a food thermometer to make sure this temperature is reached.
Ensuring foods reach this safe minimum internal temperature with a food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure safety and to determine the doneness of cooked meats, poultry, egg dishes and leftovers.
|Ground Meat and Meat Mixtures||Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb||160°F|
|Hamburgers (prepared as patties, meatballs, etc.)||160°F|
|Turkey and Chicken||165°F|
|Fresh Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb||Steaks, Roasts and Chops*||145°F*|
|Poultry||Whole Chicken and Turkey||165°F|
|Poultry Breasts and Roasts||165°F|
|Poultry Thighs, Legs and Wings||165°F|
|Duck and Goose||165°F|
|Stuffing (cooked in bird or alone)||165°F|
|Fresh Ham (raw)*||145°F*|
|Precooked Ham (to reheat)**||140°F|
|Egg Dishes||Egg Dishes||160°F|
|Eggs||Cook until yolk and white are firm|
|Leftovers and Casseroles||Leftovers||165°F|
|Seafood||Fin Fish||145°F or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork|
|Shrimp, Lobster and Crabs||Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque|
|Clams, Oysters and Mussels||Cook until shells open during cooking|
|Scallops||Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm|
Clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water after each use. This prevents cross-contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria.