Food Safety: Cooking

Topic Overview

It is important to cook foods at a safe temperature to avoid food poisoning. The following picture shows you safe temperatures for a number of foods.

Recommended minimal food temperatures

Adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (2011). Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures. Available online: www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html.

When cooking foods:

  • Use a clean meat thermometer to determine whether meat, poultry, or egg dishes are cooked to a safe temperature. The picture above shows specific safe temperatures.
  • Bring sauces, gravies, and soups to a boil when reheating. Reheat other leftovers to at least 165°F (74°C).
  • When using a microwave oven, cover the food container, and turn or stir the food to make sure it is heated evenly throughout. If the microwave does not have a turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Cook eggs until whites and yolks are firm.
  • Do not eat raw or partially cooked eggs (including cookie dough), raw (unpasteurized) milk, cheeses made with raw milk, or unpasteurized juices.
  • Do not eat undercooked hamburger, the main source of E. coli infection.
  • Be aware of the risk of food poisoning from raw fish (including sushi), clams, and oysters. Cook fish and shellfish until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  • When eating out at a restaurant, make sure foods are thoroughly cooked and are served hot.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (2011). Fact sheet. Safe food handling: Basics for handling food safely. Available online: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Basics_for_Handling_Food_Safely/index.asp.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last Revised October 18, 2012

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