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Keeping Meat Safe to Eat

Government revises its safe cooking temperatures

By Liz Crenshaw
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 1:13 PM EDT
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Keeping Meat Safe to Eat

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Before you fire up that grill, the government wants you to learn the new rules for keeping your barbecued meat safe to serve. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised the temperature meats need to reach in order to kill pathogens.

USDA now says it recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 degrees when measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, and then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or serving. This applies to cooking pork, beef, veal and lamb. The safe cooking temperature for pork was 160 degrees. USDA says one temperature for cooking for all types of meat will make it easier for consumers to cook safely.

The safe temperature is higher when it comes to ground meats. USDA says the safe cooking temperature for ground beef, veal, lamb and pork is 160 degrees, and that no rest time is necessary.
When it comes to poultry, the safe cooking temperature is 165 degrees, and that includes all poultry products, whether whole or ground.

"With a single temperature for all whole cuts of meat and uniform 3 minute stand time, we believe it will be much easier for consumers to remember and result in safer food preparation," said Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen. "Now there will only be 3 numbers to remember: 145 for whole meats, 160 for ground meats and 165 for all poultry."

For more information about safe cooking temperatures, click here.
 

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