In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes minimum internal temperatures for cooked foods.
It is important to remember that these values can be superseded by state or local health code requirements, but they cannot be below the FDA limits. Temperatures should be measured with a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the meats, or the center of other dishes, avoiding bones and container sides. Minimum internal temperatures are set as follows:
165 degrees F (74 degrees C) for 15 seconds:
- Poultry (such as whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck)
- Stuffed meats, fish, poultry and pasta
- Any previously cooked foods that are reheated from a temperature below 135 degrees F (57 degrees C), provided they have been refrigerated or warm less than 2 hours
- Any potentially hazardous foods cooked in a microwave, such as poultry, meat, fish or eggs
155 degrees F (68 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Ground meats (such as beef or pork)
- Injected meats (such as flavor-injected roasts or brined hams)
- Ground or minced fish
- Eggs that will be held for a length of time before eaten
145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Steaks and chops such as beef, pork, veal and lamb
- Eggs cooked for immediate service
145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 4 minutes
- Roasts (can be cooked to lower temperatures for increased lengths of time)
135 degrees F (57 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Cooked fruits or vegetables that will be held for a length of time before eaten
- Any commercially processed, ready-to-eat foods that will be held for a length of time before eaten.
In addition, hot food must be held at a minimum internal temperature of 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) if it is not immediately consumed. The temperature must be checked every 4 hours or else labeled with a discard time. Although monitored hot food can be held indefinitely in this way without a food safety concern, the nutritional value, flavor and quality can suffer over long periods.
You can find more helpful cooking information in the resource section of the Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide which is available for viewing on CooksCorrectional.com.