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Healthy Cooking with your Family

Cook to the Right Temperature for the Right Length of Time

Bacteria, viruses and food contaminants can be eliminated by cooking foods to the right temperatures, then holding them at that temperature, or hotter, long enough to kill the toxins. Any form of heating — baking, roasting or frying — destroys bacteria that cause food-borne illness.

One simple, convenient and inexpensive safeguard that every family can use is thermometers. The range of essential kitchen instruments includes refrigerator/freezer thermometers for storage, oven thermometers to achieve the right cooking temperature and, most important of all, meat and instant-read thermometers to verify the internal temperature of foods before serving.

Recommended minimum times and temperatures:

  • Beef, veal and lamb  160°F for at least 10 seconds. Some authorities accept minimum temperatures of as low as 145°F (between rare and medium-rare), but these red meats must be kept at that temperature for a minute or more for safety.
  • Poultry that's been cut into pieces should be cooked to an internal temperature of 170°F; use 180°F for whole birds.
  • Pork may be eaten after reaching an internal temperature of 160°F. In some cases, this means pork may appear slightly pink. That's acceptable with today's pork if the proper cooking temperature has been reached.
  • Fish should be cooked until its flesh is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork at its thickest part. Its internal temperature should be at least 145°F.
  • Always reheat cooked foods to a temperature of 165°F. Maintain hot, cooked foods in a buffet at 140°F or higher, and keep cold buffet items at 40°F or lower.

Thermometer tips from Taylor

Food safety authorities agree — the best defense against food-borne bacteria is to store and cook foods properly, using kitchen thermometers to ensure the proper temperatures. Top-quality kitchen thermometers, such as those made by Taylor, are widely available, inexpensive and easy to use — the best investment you can make in food safety for your family. Thermometers take the guesswork out of safe food preparation if you know about their uses and differences.

How To Use An Instant Read Thermometer

An Instant Read Thermometer is used to check the temperature of steaks, burgers, meatloaves and roasts. It is not ovenproof so it cannot be left in the oven during cooking, but once inserted the temperature registers in seconds.

  • Remove beef from oven, broiler or other heat source near the end of the cooking time suggested in the recipe.
  • For large cuts, insert thermometer into center of thickest part without touching bone or fat. For burgers and steaks, insert thermometer horizontally. Always insert thermometer past the indentation on the stem.
  • Check the temperature when the needle stops moving. Remove the thermometer, return beef to oven or heat source if additional cooking is required to reach the desired internal temperature.

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