Using a food thermometer is the only true way to make sure your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Use one when cooking any animal protein, and use the guide in this post to assure the temperature of your food is cooked properly.
Every year, roughly 1 out of every 6 Americans, or 48 million people, get sick from food-borne illness. Another 128,000 are hospitalized, and an estimated 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. A big reason is eating under-cooked food. That is, food that wasn’t cooked to a safe internal temperature. Luckily, there is something you can do.
Why You Should Use A Food Thermometer
You can’t tell if food is cooked properly by looking at it. The only reliable way to determine the doneness of cooked meats, poultry, egg dishes and leftovers, is to use a food thermometer. Every kitchen should have a food thermometer, and everyone who cooks should use it.
How To Properly Use A Food Thermometer
Buying a food thermometer is the first step. The next step is using it correctly. To get an accurate reading, insert it into the thickest part of the food, away from the bone, fat and gristle. You want to put it in the center part of the food before you read the temperature.
When checking ground meat products, like hamburgers, insert the thermometer sideways. The stem of the thermometer should be in the very center of the meat.
The same is true for egg dishes and casseroles. Insert the thermometer into the thickest area of the egg or dish. Then, check the temperature.
Fish should be cooked until it appears opaque, and flakes easily with a fork. As with the other animal proteins, the thermometer should be inserted sideways, into the thickest part of the fish.
Once the food or meat thermometer is inserted properly, it’s safe to check the temperature.
What Is the Safe Internal Temperature of Different Animal Proteins?
Before you consider your food done, the food must reach the safe internal temperature. That temperature, however, varies for different animal proteins. The chart below tells you the different safe temperatures, for the different foods.
Once the thermometer reads a safe temperature, the food is safe to eat. For more information on food safety, visit the food safety website.