Just yesterday the National Beef Packing Company recalled about 60,424 pounds of ground beef products after suspicions of contamination by e.coli 0157:H7 bacteria.  Last week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recalled ~380,000 pounds of Canadian bacon because the fear it could be contaminated with listeria.  Just a few weeks ago Cargill announced a voluntary recall of approximately 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company’s Springdale, Ark., facility from Feb. 20, 2011, through Aug. 2, 2011, due to possible contamination from Salmonella Heidelberg.  Sadly, these recent recalls will not be the last.

Each year roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases.  Luckily, harmful bacteria are destroyed when food is cooked to the proper temperatures.

Every household should have a food thermometer and should be using it.  It is the ONLY reliable way to ensure safety and to determine the doneness of cooked meats, poultry, egg dishes and leftovers.

Be sure to use the thermometer correctly to get an accurate reading.  Follow these steps:

  • Insert the thermometer in the center of the thickest part, away from bone, fat and gristle
  • When checking meat patties or ground meat products (such as meatloaf), insert the thermometer sideways reaching the very center with the stem of the thermometer.
  • Insert into the center or thickest area of egg dishes or casseroles
  • Cook fish until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork

Once you know how to properly use a meat thermometer, be sure to cook foods to the proper safe minimum internal temperature.

Hamburgers 160°
Chicken 165°
Turkey 165°
Pork 145°
Hot dogs 165°
Leftovers 165°

For a printable list of the safe minimum internal temperature of other meat, poultry and egg dishes visit homefoodsafety.org

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