Meat temperatures, cooking temperatures and meat safety
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One of the biggest factors in foodborne-illness outbreaks is time-temperature abuse. Disease-causing bacteria microorganisms grow and multiply at temperatures between 41 degrees F and 135 degrees F. Whenever food is held in the temperature danger range, it is being abused.
Common opportunities for time-temperature abuse throughout the flow of food include:
-- Not cooking food to its required minimum internal temperature
-- Not cooling food properly
-- Failing to reheat food to 165 degrees F for fifteen seconds within two hours (If the food falls below the minimum temperature requirement of 140 degrees F, it has to be reheated to 165 degrees F for 15 seconds, minimum, within two hours.)
-- Failing to hold food at a minimum internal temperature of 135 defrees F or higher or 41 degrees F or lower
Ground Meats -- including: beef, pork, and other meat or fish.
Minimum internal temperature 155 degrees F for 15 seconds.
Most whole-muscle cuts of meat are likely to have microorganisms only on their surface. When meat is ground, microorganisms on the surface are mixed throughout the product.
Ground meat may also be cooked to the following alternative internal temperatures:
-- 145 degrees F for 3 minutes
-- 150 degrees F for 1 minute
-- 155 degrees F for 15 seconds
-- 158 degrees F for <1 second
Pork, Beef, Veal, Lamb
steaks/chops 145 degrees for 15 seconds
roasts 145 degrees for 4 minutes
This temperature is high enough to destroy Trichinella spp. larvae that might have contaminated pork.
Depending on the type of roast and the oven used, roasts may be cooked to the following alternative internal temperatures.
-- 130 degrees F for 112 minutes
-- 131 degrees F for 89 minutes
-- 133 degrees F for 56 minutes
-- 135 degrees F for 36 minutes
-- 136 degrees F for 28 minutes
-- 138 degrees F for 18 minutes
-- 140 degrees F for 12 minutes
-- 142 degrees F for 8 minutes
-- 144 degrees F for 5 minutes
-- 144 degrees F for 4 minutes
Stuffed Fish (or Stuffing Containing Fish)
165 degrees F for 15 seconds
Ground, chopped, or minced fish
155 degrees F for 15 seconds
Cooked vegetables must never be held at room temperatures
Commercially processed, Ready to eat food that will be hot-held for service
135 degrees F for 15 seconds
This includes items such as: cheese sticks, deep-fried vegetables, chicken wings, etc.
Cross contamination of food.
If you don't do this, please consider it. When you prepare food, do you use the same cutting board and utensils for all your food? If so, STOP.
Use different cutting boards and utensils for each type of food. Example: one for poultry, a second for other meats, and a third for vegetables. Consider different colored boards and handles. If you don't, make sure you sanitize all your items before going to another type of food.
And don't forget to wash and dry your hands as well.
Recommended requirements for storing food:
Meat: -- store fresh at an internal temperature of 41 degrees F or lower
Poultry -- Store fresh at an internal temperature of 41 degrees F or lower
Fish -- Store fresh at an internal temperature of 41 degrees F or lower
Shellfish -- Store alive at an internal temperature of 45 degrees F or lower
Eggs -- Store fresh at an internal temperature of 45 degrees F or lower
Dairy -- Store fresh at an internal temperature of 41 degrees F or lower
Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt -- Store frozen at a temperature of 6 degrees F to 10 degrees F
To hold food at a specific internal temperature, refrigerator air temperature should be at least 2 degrees F lower than the desired temperature.
Keep freezer temperature at 0 degrees F or lower unless the food you are storing requires a different temperature.
Use caution when placing food into a freezer. Warm food can raise the temperature inside the unit and partially thaw the food inside. Store food to allow good air circulation. Overloading a freezer makes it work harder, and make it harder to find and rotate food properly.
Lining shelves with aluminum foil or paper restricts circulation of cold air in the unit.
Never place hot food in the refrigerator. This can warm the interior enough to put other food in the temperature danger zone.