Consumer Safety & Safe Temperatures

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Safe temperatures help protect consumers from food poisoning. There are guidelines with recommendations for cooking. Yet, most pathogens are destroyed between 140 °F and 165 °F or 60 °C and 74 °C; Although, poultry has to be cooked at higher temperatures. To be on the safe side it is a good idea to introduce the use of thermometer when cooking.

Recommended Temperatures for Consumer Safety

There are temperatures recommended for consumer cooking. Yet, most pathogens are destroyed between 140 °F and 165 °F or 60 °C and 74 °C; Although, poultry has to be cooked at higher temperatures. To be on the safe side it is a good idea to introduce the use of thermometer when cooking.

Using the Food Thermometer

Most available food thermometers will give an accurate reading within 2°C to 4°C. The reading will only be correct if the thermometer is placed in the proper location in the food. If not inserted correctly, or if the food thermometer is placed in the wrong area, the reading will not accurately reflect the internal temperature of the food. In general, the food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food, away from bone, fat, or gristle.

Check Manufacturer’s Instructions for Consumer Safety

Before using a food thermometer, read the manufacturer’s instructions first. The instructions should tell how far the thermometer must be inserted in food to give an accurate reading. If instructions are not available, check the stem of the food thermometer for an indentation, or “dimple.”This shows one end of the location of the sensing device. Dial thermometers must penetrate about 2 to 3 inches (7.62 cm) into the food. Most digital thermometers will read the temperature in a small area of the tip

Calibrating a Thermometer for Consumer Safety

There are two ways to check the accuracy of a food thermometer. One method uses ice water, the other uses boiling water. Many food thermometers have a calibration nut under the dial that can be adjusted. Always check the package for instructions.

Ice Water

To use the ice water method, fill a large glass with finely crushed ice. Add clean tap water to the top of the ice and stir well. Immerse the food thermometer stem a minimum of 2 inches (5.08 cm) into the mixture, touching neither the sides nor the bottom of the glass. Wait a minimum of 30 seconds before adjusting. (For ease in handling, the stem of the food    thermometer can be placed through the clip section of the stem sheath and, holding the sheath horizontally, lowered into the water). Without removing the stem from the ice, hold the adjusting nut under the head of the thermometer with a suitable tool and turn the head so the pointer reads 32 °F or 0°C.

Boiling Water

To use the boiling water method, bring a pot of clean tap water to a full rolling boil. Immerse the stem of a food thermometer in boiling water a minimum of 2 inches(5.08 cm) and wait at least 30 seconds. (For ease in handling, the stem of the food thermometer can be placed through the clip section of the stem sheath and, holding the sheath horizontally, lowered into the boiling water). Without removing the stem from the pan, hold the adjusting nut under the head of the food thermometer with a suitable tool and turn the head so the thermometer reads 212 °F or 100°C (water boils at 212 °F or 100°C).
The following are the temperatures recommended for consumer cooking.

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The presented information is an extract of Food Safety and Inspection Service by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)