While most of us wash our hands before meal prep and disinfect kitchen surfaces to avoid cross-contamination, we might forget to check the internal cooking temperatures of our meat, fish or poultry.
Sure, we might use a food thermometer when roasting a turkey, but many of us don’t know that we also have to use it to check burgers, chicken breasts and pork chops. With barbecue season right around the corner, it’s a smart idea to get a refresher on the safe internal cooking temperatures of popular meats.
Start by using a digital thermometer, which offers the best speed and accuracy. Insert it through the thickest part of the meat, all the way to the middle, not touching any bone. Check each piece separately.
Here are the safe cooking temperatures you need to know for meat, poultry and fish:
Poultry. Chicken, turkey and duck can cause food poisoning if they’re not properly stored, prepared and cooked, so always cook your poultry to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria like Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria. For ground poultry and pieces, that’s 74°C (165°F); for whole poultry, that’s 82°C (180°F).
Beef, veal and lamb. Raw ground meat can be especially dangerous as it can be contaminated with bacteria like E. coli. For medium rare, cook to 63°C (145°F); for medium, 71°C (160°F); and well done, 77°C (170°F). Ground meat should be cooked to 71°C (160°F). For burgers, insert food thermometer through the side of the patty.
Seafood. The main safety concern is associated with shellfish that are filter feeders (such as oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles), as they can carry bacteria, viruses and toxins that can cause food-related illness. You’ll want to cook fish to an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F). When it comes to shellfish, cook to 74°C (165°F) and discard any that do not open when cooked.
Pork. Whether you’re cooking ham, pork loin or ribs, pieces or ground pork, they all need to be cooked to 71°C (160°F).