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Safe Cooking Temperatures

If an experienced eye is all you use to tell if meat, poultry, or egg dishes are cooked to a safe temperature, you're putting yourself and your family at risk of food-borne illnesses. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has evaluated safe cooking temperatures for a variety of foods.  Here are its recommendations:

Food   Safe Cooking Temperatures
Ground Meat  
Beef, pork, veal, lamb 160 degrees
Poultry 165 degrees
Beef, Veal, Lamb (whole cuts)  
Medium-rare 145 degrees
Medium 160 degrees
Well-done 170 degrees
Poultry  
Whole birds 180 degrees
Breasts 170 degrees
Legs, thighs, wings 180 degrees
Pork (fresh)  
Medium 160 degrees
Well-done 170 degrees
Ham  
Fresh 160 degrees
Cooked 140 degrees
Fish and Shellfish 145 degrees (at least for 15 sec)
Egg dishes 160 degrees
Other  
Casseroles, combination dishes,
stuffing, stews, leftovers   
165 degrees

Source: Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, 2003
From The Mayo Clinic and Food & Nutrition Center

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