Food Safety 101: Safe Temperatures for Poultry and Meat

With the USDA ground beef recall fresh on our minds, we are brushing up on our own food handling practices. Do you know how long you can leave that potato salad out or how long to cook meat for it to be safe?

If you're not so sure, no worries: we're doing a Food Safety 101 course this week to keep you and your guests happy and healthy.

We already talked a little bit about how long you can leave cooked food unrefrigerated and how to thaw frozen meat, and now we're talking about safe temperatures for pork, poultry, and other meats. What is the safe temperature for meat? It's the easiest way to tell if you meat is cooked all the way - stick a thermometer in.

Internal Cooking Temperatures for Meats
• Poultry (chickens and turkeys; whole, pieced, or ground): 165-degrees Fahrenheit
• Ground meat (beef or pork): 155-degrees Fahrenheit
• Cuts of meat, fish, and eggs: 145-degrees Fahrenheit

When taking the temperature of meat, insert the thermometer where the meat is the thickest since this will take the longest to cook. With whole chickens and turkeys, take the temperature from the thickest part of the thigh muscle since this darker thigh meat actually takes longer to cook.

And it goes without saying (we hope), but wash your hands and keep counters and sinks clean!

While most of this stuff is intuitive, it can sometimes get confusing. Any food safety questions out there? Let us know and we'll do our best to answer them!

By the way, in case you were wondering, our answers are courtesy of a culinary school textbook: ServSafe Coursebook, Fourth Edition published by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Food Safety 101
How Long Can I Leave Cooked Foods Unrefrigerated?
How to Defrost Frozen Meat

More on food safety
The Five Second Rule
USDA Ground Beef Recall
Where's the Safe Beef?
The Conscientious Cook: The Farm Bill Food Battle
Text Message for Safe Fish

This is by Emma, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Emma!

(Image credit: Foodland)

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