Safe Cooking During the Holidays

Safe cooking is important year-round. However, with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays just around the corner, many families will be cooking large feasts for celebration. It is important to remember that all meats have a certain temperature that must be reached during the cooking process to destroy potential pathogens that may reside on or in the meat.

Safe Cooking Temperatures

Use the information listed below and a meat thermometer to make sure that the food you prepare has reached a safe minimum temperature. A visual inspection of the meat will not tell you if the minimum required temperature has been met. It is also important that you allow the meat to rest (if recommended) before taking the temperature. This will ensure that that any potential harmful germs will be destroyed. The information below is adapted from the foodsafety.gov website. Click the following link for specific information concerning Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures.

  • Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures – including beef, pork, veal, and lamb.
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 160°F
    • Rest Time = 0 minutes
  • Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures – including turkey and/or chicken.
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 165°F
    • Rest Time = 0 minutes
  • Fresh Whole Cuts of Meat – including beef, veal and lamb (steaks, roasts, chops).
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 145°F
    • Rest Time = 3 minutes
  • Whole Cuts of Poultry – including whole carcasses, whole breasts and stuffing (cooked alone or in bird).
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 165°F
    • Rest Time = 0 minutes
  • Pork and Ham – including chops and raw ham
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 145°F
    • Rest Time = 3 minutes
    • Precooked Ham – to reheat = 140°F with no rest time
  • Eggs
    • Cook until yolk and white are firm with no rest time
  • Egg Dishes
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 160°F
    • Rest Time = 0 minutes
  • All Leftovers and Casseroles
    • Safe Minimum Temperature = 165°F
    • Rest Time = 0 minutes
  • Seafood
    • Fin Fish
      • Safe Minimum Temperature = 145°F (or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork)
      • Rest Time = 0 minutes
    • Shrimp, Lobster & Crabs – Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque (no rest time)
    • Clams, Oysters, and Mussels – Cook until shells open during cooking (no rest time)
    • Scallops – Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm (no rest time)

One Comment on “Safe Cooking During the Holidays

  1. Pingback: Choosing and Cooking Your Holiday Turkey - UF/IFAS Extension Baker County

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