Sometimes we forget the importance of food safety when we are cooking. It’s important to remember that harmful bacteria is present in food we cook and we must properly cook our food for a long enough time at a high enough temperature to kill any harmful bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.
According to the FDA there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually – the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year!
Below is a great chart to use so you will know what is a safe minimum internal temperature for the food you are cooking. Use a food thermometer when cooking meat, poultry, seafood to ensure food reaches the minimum internal temperature so you can prevent foodborne illness.
There is no way to tell whether meat is cooked safely by looking at it. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause foodborne illness. So it’s important to use a food thermometer. You can cook food to higher temperatures but make sure to at least cook to the minimum.
Four Guidelines for Keeping Food Safe:
- Wash hands and sanitize surfaces often. Use warm water and soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water before and after preparing each food group.
- Keep raw meat separate from other foods. Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from the other food in your grocery cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
- Cook food to the right temperature. Follow the chart above and use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods.
- Refrigerate food promptly. Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria.