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Food Safety Feature Articles


food thermometerUse food thermometers to make sure food is safe


Food thermometers are important when cooking at home because they take the guess work out of telling whether or not a food is safe to eat. Potentially hazardous foods — like meats and eggs — need to be cooked to a certain temperature to ensure they are safe to eat.


“Taking temperatures is a simple and easy way to ensure that the food served is safe for your family. A food thermometer helps you cook food to a safe temperature, prevent overcooking and get the best flavor,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.


To take the temperature of foods, insert the stem of the thermometer straight into the food or at an angle, about 2 inches into the thickest part of the food without touching fat or bone. Wait 20 to 30 seconds and then read the temperature.


Safe temperatures have been set for different types of food:

  • Cook roasts and steaks to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cook poultry to at least 165 degrees F
  • Cook ground meat to at least 160 degrees F
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny
  • Cook fish to 145 degrees F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating — be sure to also heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F


“Food thermometers are easy to use and inexpensive. Using a thermometer is an important way to ensure the food you are serving is cooked to the proper temperature,” said Roberts.


For more information on nutrition issues, contact your local University of Missouri Extension office, go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at 417-682-3579.


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Last update: Thursday, January 13, 2011