When eating healthily, you likely focus on filling your diet with fresh veggies and choosing wholesome, nutrient-rich foods for your meals. But, there’s an often-overlooked component to healthy eating: food safety.
To stay healthy and avoid foodborne illnesses, it’s important to handle and store food safely. Whether you need a quick refresher or are learning the ins and outs of food safety for the first time, here’s what you need to know.
Before we dive into details like optimum cooking temperatures for meat, let’s talk about three fundamentals of food safety.
Your hands are clean and foods are separated, so now it’s time to get cooking. It’s often not enough to judge doneness of meats with a quick glance, so using a food thermometer is the safest way to ensure that meat, poultry, and other dishes are cooked thoroughly enough to destroy harmful bacteria.
Once you have your thermometer, here are the minimum temperatures to aim for in meats and poultry:
Ground Beef: 160°F
Beef, Veal, Lamb: 160-170°F
Ground Chicken or Turkey: 165°F
Chicken and Turkey Breasts: 170°F
Chicken or Turkey (legs, thighs, and wings): 180°F
Meat isn’t the only type of food that should be cooked to the proper bacteria-destroying temperature, as this list from FoodSafety.gov shows. The list also details the necessary rest times for different foods, since it can take several minutes for this important last step to kill off germs.
Washing your hands, cooking foods to the recommended temperature, and proper refrigeration will go a long way in keeping the food you and your family eats safe. But, those aren’t the only things you should be doing: