THUNDER BAY, ON --- May 26, 2012 --- Seeing Isn't Believing Many people assume that if a hamburger is brown in the middle, it is done. However, looking at the color and texture of food is not enough—you have to use a food thermometer to be sure! According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature. The only safe way to know if meat, poultry, and egg dishes are "done" is to use a food thermometer. When a hamburger is cooked to 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer, it is both safe and delicious
Preventing food poisoning starts in the preparation. Follow these food safety tips to ensure that your grilled meat doesn't make you sick:
Separate your food. Keep raw meat away from fruits, vegetables, and any other foods you're going to eat without cooking, to avoid bacterial cross-contamination. Cut raw meats on a different surface than other foods. Then wash every cutting board, plate, and utensil the raw meat touched with hot water and soap. Always use new serving plates and utensils for your cooked food.
Clean up. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before preparing food and after you handle raw meat. Ask the same of anyone else who is going to be handling food.
Keep it cold. Store meat and poultry in the refrigerator until you're ready to grill it. If you have any meat left over from grilling, either keep it warm (140 degrees or hotter) or put it in the fridge within two hours (within 1 hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees). Freeze any ground meat or poultry that you don't use within 1-2 days.
Cook it through. Your burger might look done on the outside, but it could still be raw on the inside. Internal color isn't a reliable guide of whether or not it is cooked.
To be certain that your meat is cooked thoroughly, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and keep cooking until it reaches these temperatures:
- Whole chicken or turkey:165 degrees
- Chicken or turkey breasts (boneless): 165 degrees
- Ground chicken or turkey: 165 degrees
- Hamburgers, ground beef: 160 degrees
- Beef roasts or steaks: Medium rare 145 degrees; medium 160 degrees; well done 170 degrees
- Pork: 160 degrees
- Fish: 145 degrees
- Hot dogs: 165 degrees or steaming hot
Keep your food covered when you're not eating it to prevent insects from making a snack of your meal. Bugs pick up germs on their feet and bodies and then deposit those germs wherever they land. If you see an insect crawling on your food, throw that piece away. That bug's last stop might have been a pile of garbage -- or worse
Most cookbooks contain outdated meat temperature info since the USDA has changed its recommendations several times. Knowing the best temps is essential to cooking safe and cooking great food. The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from foodborne illnesses, often mistakenly called "stomach flu," and 3,000 die. And nobody knows how many millions of dollars were wasted on overcooked food.