The USDA revised the safe minimum cooking temperatures for consumers to use in their homes to protect themselves against food-borne illnesses. These safe cooking temperatures are paired with new recommended resting times to ensure all harmful bacteria are killed through the cooking process.
One important aspect of minimum cooking temperatures is that you are reaching those temperatures during cooking. A food thermometer should be used to ensure those thresholds are met properly. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat and not be near any bone, fat, or gristle. You should start checking the temperature near the end of the cooking process when you suspect it is done. Don’t remove the food from the grill, stove or other heat source until the minimum cooking temperature is reached. Clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water after each use.
What are these safe cooking temperatures, you ask? Read the following list to see what you should be cooking to!
- Fresh cuts of Beef, Veal and Lamb (steaks, roasts, and chops) should be cooked to 145°F and have a rest time of 3 minutes
- Fresh cuts of Pork (chops and roasts) should be cooked to 145°F with a rest time of 3 minutes
- Ground Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb should be cooked to 160°F
- Ground Turkey and Chicken should be cooked to 165°F
- All Poultry (whole chickens and turkeys, breasts, roasts, thighs, legs, wings, duck, and goose) should be cooked to 165°F
- Fresh ham should be cooked to 145°F and rested for 3 minutes
- Precooked ham should be cooked to 140°F
- All leftovers and casseroles should be cooked to 165°F