Safe minimum cooking temperatures

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A meat cooking thermometer
Thermapen digital thermometer with probe

Test the temperature of your food to ensure it's safe to eat

How to check that meat is properly cooked and safe to eat.

Using a food thermometer in combination with the chart below to check the food has reached a safe minimum temperature will ensure that the food you cook is safe to eat.

The chart includes not only meat but also eggs, game, fish and seafood.

The source of this data

The following data is mostly taken from the website of the US Department of Health and Human Services. However these temperatures are not written in stone, so please read the notes which follow.

Notes

Temperatures of 75°C or above are effective in destroying almost all types of bacteria. However, cooking temperatures below this level are also effective provided that the food is held at these temperatures for a suitable time period. According to the FSA, you should observe the following:

  1. When cooking poultry, rolled meat joints, stews, casseroles, minced meats and meat products, ensure the centre reaches a suitably high temperature for example 75°C or above
  2. Whole cuts of beef and lamb which have not been rolled or skewered and are to be served pink or rare, may not need to reach this temperature but should be properly cooked at a suitably high temperature
  3. Similarly, steaks cooked “rare” need not be cooked to this temperature but you should ensure that the external surface has been cooked at a suitably high temperature to kill any bacteria on the surface of the meat

However, cooking food at what would normally be considered an 'unsuitably' high temperature, will also kill of the bacteria PROVIDED THAT the cooking TIME is long enough and that the core temperature is maintained. This is why food cooked sous vide is safe, even though it is cooked at a comparatively low temperature. For example, surface bacteria will be destroyed it you cook at

• 60°C for a minimum of 45 minutes • 65°C for a minimum of 10 minutes • 70°C for a minimum of 2 minutes

Note that this applies to steaks and whole cuts only. Anything like mince or rolled joints will have come into contact with bacteria on the inside, as well as the surface.

Food category Food type Safe minimum temperature Resting time
Beef, lamb, pork Beef steaks & chops 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Gammon (from raw) 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Ham (from raw) 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Roast beef 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Roast pork 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Lamb fillet 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Lamb chops 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork lamb steaks 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Roast lamb 62 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Beef, lamb, pork Pre-cooked Ham (reheating) 60 °C (140 °F) None
Crustaceans (Prawns,crabs,lobster,crayfish) 62 °C (145 °F)
Cook until flesh is pink and opaque
None
Eggs Eggs 62 °C (145 °F)
Cook until whites and yolks are firm
None
Fish Finned fish 62 °C (145 °F)
or until flesh opaque or easily separated
None
Game Hare 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Rabbit 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast grouse 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast Guinea fowl 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Roast wild boar 76 °C(170 °F) 5 minutes
Game Roast venison 71 °C (160 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast partridge 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast pheasant 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast pigeon 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Game Whole roast quails 74 °C (165 °F) 3 minutes
Left-over food Reheating 74 °C (165 °F) None
Minced (ground) meat Beef 71 °C (160 °F) None
Minced (ground) meat Chicken 74 °C (165 °F) None
Minced (ground) meat Pork 71 °C (160 °F) None
Minced (ground) meat Turkey 74 °C (165 °F) None
Minced (ground) meat Veal 71 °C (160 °F) None
Poultry Chicken wings 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Chicken breasts 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Chicken legs 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Chicken thighs 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Turkey breasts 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Turkey legs 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Turkey thighs 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Turkey wings 74 °C (165 °F) None
Poultry Whole roast chicken 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Poultry Whole roast turkey 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Poultry Whole roast duck 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Poultry Whole roast goose 74 °C (165 °F) 5 minutes
Ratites Emu steaks 63 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Ratites Ostrich steaks 63 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Ratites Rhea steaks 63 °C (145 °F) 5 minutes
Shellfish (Clams,mussels,oysters) Cook until shells open during cooking None

A two-way temperature calculator

A Centigrade to Fahrenhiet / Fahrenhiet to Centigrade temperature converter.



Pink pork can be ok to eat

The colour of cooked uncured red meat is not a measurement of safety. Even pork can be pink, yet still be safe to eat. [1]

See also

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