Keep bacteria like salmonella and E. coli out of your dishes by following these dos and don’ts

DO Apron - Masterfile

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water, rubbing gently with your hands—even if you’re not going to eat the skin or rind
  • Use a dedicated cutting board for produce and another board for raw meats and fish.
  • When refrigerating hot leftovers, divide the food in small containers so it cools quickly.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40 degrees F or lower and that your freezer is set to zero.
  • Always wash your hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after handling food.

DON’Ts

  • Thaw frozen meats at room temperature. Instead, thaw them in the fridge (about six hours per pound).
  • Wash meats or fish before cooking—it actually increases the risk of spreading bacteria.
  • Stuff a turkey tightly—doing so doesn’t allow the stuffing to heat enough (165 °F) to kill bacteria.
  • Eat raw or undercooked eggs. Heat them to 160 ° F.
  • Eat unpasteurized dairy products, raw or undercooked fish or cold lunch meats if you have diabetes—you could be especially susceptible to the bacteria they may contain.

From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus (Winter 2010)

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.

Why the Rest Time is Important: After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.

How to Use a Food Thermometer: Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle. Start checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Be sure to clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.

Meat & Poultry

Ground Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160°F

Ground Turkey or Chicken 165°F

Steaks, roasts, chops 145°F, rest for 3 minutes

Whole Chicken or Turkey 165°F

Poultry breasts, roasts 165°F

Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165°F

Duck & Goose 165°F

Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165°F

Fresh pork 145°F, rest for 3 minutes

Fresh ham (raw) 145°F, rest for 3 minutes

Precooked ham (to reheat) 140°F

Seafood

Fin Fish: 145°F or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

Shrimp, lobster, and crabs: Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.

Clams, oysters, and mussels: Cook until shells open during cooking.

Scallops: Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.

Eggs and Egg Dishes

Eggs - cook until yolk and white are firm

Egg dishes 160°F

Leftovers & Casseroles

Leftovers 165°F

Casseroles 165°F

Source: Foodsafety.gov

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 07 Dec 2011

Last Modified: 14 Nov 2012