Food Safety Information – Kitchen Thermometers
It is essential to use a food thermometer when cooking meat, poultry, and egg products to preventundercooking, verify that food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature, and consequently, preventfoodborne illness.
Why Use a Food Thermometer?
Using a food thermometer is the only reliable way toensure safety and to determine desired “doneness”of meat, poultry, and egg products. To be safe, thesefoods must be cooked to a safe minimum internaltemperature to destroy any harmful microorganismsthat may be in the food.“Doneness” refers to when a food is cooked to adesired state and indicates the sensory aspects offoods such as texture, appearance, and juiciness.Unlike the temperatures required for safety, thesesensory aspects are subjective.
Color is Not a Reliable Indicator
Many food handlers believe that visible indicators,such as color changes, can be used to determine iffoods are cooked to a point where pathogens arekilled. However, recent research has shown thatcolor and texture indicators are unreliable. Forexample, ground beef may turn brown before itreaches a temperature where pathogens aredestroyed. A consumer preparing hamburger pattiesand using the brown color as an indicator of“doneness” is taking a chance that pathogenicmicroorganisms may survive. A hamburger cooked to160 °F, as measured with a meat thermometer,regardless of color, is safe.
Commonly used inturkeys and roastingchickens since 1965, the“pop-up” styledisposable cookingdevice is constructed offood grade nylon. Theinside contains astainless steel springand organic firing material. The organic firing materialis specifically designed to dissolve at specificpredetermined temperatures. Once the firingmaterial dissolves, the stainless steel springreleases the stem, allowing it to “pop up.” Thisindicates that the food has reached the correct finaltemperature for safety and doneness. Pop-up styledisposable cooking devices are reliable and accurateto within 1 to 2 °F, however, proper placement isimportant. Checking with a conventional foodthermometer is always recommended as an addedprecaution to properly gauging both safety anddoneness.