Cook meat safely this summer

Use a food thermometer and know the recommended cooking temperatures to help avoid foodborne illness.

As we see the calendar turn to June and warmer days, many summer activities are happening. When you are preparing meals this summer, whether in the kitchen at home, on the grill or over a campsite fire, remember to keep proper cooking methods in mind. If you don’t already have one, purchase a food thermometer so you can help ensure that your meat and food items are thoroughly cooked.

Michigan State University Extension reminds you that you cannot tell by looking at the color of the food if it’s done, a thermometer must be used to ensure the food has reached the minimum internal cooking temperatures.  Thermometers are an inexpensive tool to help keep your food safe. They can be purchased at hardware stores, grocery stores, kitchen stores or large department stores.

Once you have your thermometer, here are the key temperatures to use:

  • Beef roasts, steaks, fish and pork should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F throughout the bird as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all ground meat to 160 degrees F. As we said earlier, the color of the meat is not a safe indicator of doneness. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burgers.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees F.
  • Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F.

Get your thermometers out and ready for all the upcoming summer meal prep, so you can enjoy safe and tasty food.

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