Cooking Temperatures

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Cooking Temperatures

Millions of people fall victim to food poisoning every year, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to death. The most vulnerable among us--the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with underlying health problems--are the most at risk from food borne illness.

Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot

One of the major causes of food poisoning is improper cooking and handling with regard to temperature. In other words, cold foods need to be kept cold, hot foods need to be kept hot and certain foods need to be cooked to a specific temperature to kill any pathogens that may be present.

In addition, cooked foods should be kept hot until they are eaten or refrigerated and the temperature in your refrigerator should be at 40° F. or lower. In order to assure the safety of frozen foods, your freezer temperature should be at 0° or below.

Remember not to purchase frozen foods that are soft or that have thawed and refrozen and be sure to refrigerate meats, eggs and other perishables as soon as possible. Please note that the food safety of many perishable foods deteriorates rapidly at temperatures between 40°. and 140° F.

Here is a list of perishable foods and the cooking temperatures and storing temperatures that keep them safe.

Click here for a printable copy of this safe cooking temperatures list.

Type of Food

Safe Temperature
Well-done meats 170°F.
Reheated leftovers;
Poultry;
Stuffing;

165°F.
Raw eggs and foods made with eggs;
Ground Pork;
Ground Beef

160°F.
Roasts;
Beef steak;
Veal;
Lamb;
Pork (Whole cuts-Rest 3 minutes after cooking)

145°F.
All cooked foods until eaten or refrigerated.
140°F.
Temperature in refrigerator
40°F.or lower.
Temperature in freezer
0°F. or lower


How food makes you sick

There are two major ways that food can poison you and make you sick. Foods contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, or E-coli can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Then there are foods that contain toxins, either naturally or as a result of microbes such as Staphylococcus or Botulism. Both types of food-borne illness can cause severe illness and even death.


Please seek medical help if you experience diarrhea lasting more than three days, difficulty breathing or swallowing, bloody stools, double vision, heart palpitations or dizziness, or a fever lasting more than a day or so.


Educate yourself about cooking and the food supply.

In order to avoid food-borne illness you need to know where your food comes from and how it has been handled before you eat it. Otherwise it is a throw of the dice whether the food will make you sick. Some things you can't control, but the more you know the better your chances of eating food that is good for you.


Click here to go from Cooking Temperatures page to Food Poisoning page.




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