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Food and Health -- > Food Safety Education
Is It Done Yet?
done yet?" You can't
tell by looking.
Did you know?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
estimate that every year about 76 million people in
the United States become ill from harmful bacteria in
food; of these, about 5,000 die.
Thermometers Aren't Just for Turkey Anymore
food thermometers aren't just for your holiday roasts—they're
for all cuts and sizes of meat and poultry, including
hamburgers, and chicken breasts. Using a food thermometer when
cooking meat, poultry, and even egg dishes is the only
reliable way to make sure you are preparing a safe and
delicious meal for your family.
Why Use a Food
is at risk for food borne illness. One effective way to
prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the
internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. Using a
food thermometer not only keeps your family safe from harmful
food bacteria, but it also helps you to
giving you a safe and flavorful
Some people may be at high risk
for developing food borne illness. These include pregnant
women and their unborn babies and newborns, young children,
older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and
individuals with certain chronic illnesses. These people
should pay extra
attention to handle food safely.
What Are the Signs of Food
The signs and
symptoms of food borne illness range from upset stomach,
diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration,
to more severe illness—even death. Consumers can take simple
measures to reduce their risk of food borne illness,
especially in the home.
Use a Food Thermometer
- Use an instant-read food thermometer to
check the internal temperature toward the end of the cooking
time, but before the food is expected to be "done."
- The food thermometer should be placed in
the thickest part of the food and should not be touching
bone, fat, or gristle.
- Compare your thermometer reading to the
USDA Recommended Internal Temperatures to determine if your
food has reached a safe temperature.
- Make sure to clean your food thermometer
with hot, soapy water before and after each use!
oven-safe or oven-probe thermometers may be used for the
duration of cooking.
Because there are so many types of food thermometers, it is
important to follow the instructions for your food
USDA Recommended Internal
- Steaks & Roasts - 145 °F
- Fish - 145 °F
- Ground Beef - 160 °F
- Egg Dishes - 160 °F
- Chicken Breasts - 170 °F
- Whole Chicken - 180 °F
assume that if a hamburger is brown in the middle, it is done.
However, looking at the color and texture of food is not
enough—you have to use a food thermometer to be sure!
According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4
hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal
temperature. The only safe way to know if meat, poultry, and
egg dishes are "done" is to use a food thermometer. When a
hamburger is cooked to 160 °F, it is both safe and delicious!
Be Food Safe! Prepare
Know how to
prepare, handle, and store food safely to keep you and your
family safe. Bacteria can grow on meat, poultry, seafood,
eggs, and dairy products, as well as cut-up or cooked
vegetables and fruits.
CLEAN: Wash hands and
hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after
handling food. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, etc., with
hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Wash fruits
and vegetables with cold water before using. There is no need
to wash or rinse meat or poultry.
Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping,
preparing, or storing. Never place cooked food on a plate
which previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
COOK Cook food to proper
Use a food
thermometer to be sure!
or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2
hours or sooner.
- 1 ½ pounds
- ¼ cup
tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped
tablespoons picante sauce or salsa
teaspoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
tablespoon prepared horseradish (optional)
- salt and
pepper to taste
- 4 sesame
seed hamburger buns
lettuce and sliced tomatoes
hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before
handling the meat.
- In a bowl,
mix ground beef with onion, red pepper, picante sauce or
salsa, mustard, horseradish (if desired), salt and pepper.
- Form into
four burgers, about ¾ inch thick.
hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after handling
utensils, place burgers on grill that has reached
- Check each
burger with a food thermometer after approximately 10-15
minutes. Turn burgers as needed.
hamburger is done when it reaches 160 °F.
- Clean the
thermometer between uses with hot, soapy water.
burgers on buns and top with condiments and garnishes of
- After checking
the final temperature, remember to clean the food
thermometer with hot, soapy water.
and Poultry Hotline
USDA does not endorse any products, services or organizations.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.