Getting ready for holiday “get togethers”, one often finds themselves in a rush or behind on preparing the food for the party. Don’t let tardiness be the reason the party attendees end up with a case of foodborne illness. Don’t rush cooking of product; I am certain the guests would rather wait a few minutes than risk the potential of being sick because the product was not properly cooked.
Always read the product label for specific cooking instructions and follow them! Be sure to verify whether the product has been pre-cooked and simply needs to be re-heated, or if the product is raw and needs to be thoroughly cooked. All of this information will be included on the product label. If there are questions on what temperature to cook a specific product to, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service provides a chart that includes safe minimum internal cooking temperatures:
Cook all food to these minimum internal temperatures as measured with a food thermometer before removing food from the heat source. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook food to higher temperatures.
|Product||Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time|
|Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb
Steaks, chops, roasts
|145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|Ground meats||160 °F (71.1 °C)|
|Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)||145 °F (60 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|Fully Cooked Ham
|Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).|
|Product||Minimum Internal Temperature|
|All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings, ground poultry, and stuffing)||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
|Eggs||160 °F (71.1 °C)|
|Fish & Shellfish||145 °F (62.8 °C)|
|Leftovers||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
|Casseroles||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service
You can not see or smell bacteria that may be on raw products. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s cooking instructions to ensure the safety of the product.