USDA Encourages the Use of Food Thermometers to be Food Safe this Summer

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2017 — Summer is a time for family
vacations, backyard barbeques and plenty of outdoor activities with food
as the centerpiece. But before those steaks and burgers go on the grill,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection
Service (FSIS) wants to remind consumers to keep their family and
themselves safe from foodborne illness by using a food thermometer to
ensure meat and poultry is cooked to the correct internal temperature.

“The best and only way to make sure bacteria have been killed and food
is safe to eat is by cooking it to the correct internal temperature as
measured by a food thermometer,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza.
“It is a simple step that can stop your family and guests from getting
foodborne illness.”

Recent research by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found
that only 34 percent of the public use a food thermometer when cooking
hamburgers. If you don’t verify your burger’s internal temperature,
pathogens may still be present. When eaten, those hamburgers can make
your guests and your family sick.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates
that 48 million people suffer from foodborne illness each year,
resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

So how do you avoid becoming a part of those statistics? Follow USDA’s
four easy steps to food safety this summer.

CLEAN: Make sure to always wash your hands and surfaces with soap and
warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or
poultry. If cooking outside or away from a kitchen, pack clean cloths
and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

SEPARATE: When taking food off of the grill, use clean utensils and
platters. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat
or poultry.

COOK: Alwaysuse a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of
meat and poultry. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the
food.

* Hamburgers, sausages and other ground meats should reach 160°F.
* All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165°F.
* Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and of beef should be cooked to
145°F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of
the meat, and allowed to rest for three minutes before eating. A “rest
time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final
temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat
source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat
source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which
destroys pathogens.
* Fish should be cooked to 145°F.
* Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the
outside, and by using a food thermometer you can be sure items have
reached a safe minimum internal temperature needed to destroy any
harmful bacteria that may be present.

CHILL: Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze
immediately. Discard food that has been sitting out longer than two
hours.

_Need more food safety information?_ Call the USDA Meat and Poultry
Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6
p.m. ET, or email or chat at AskKaren.gov [1].

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