food-safety | 4 mins read

An Easy and Comprehensive Guide to Food Cooking Temperatures

an easy and comprehensive guide to food cooking temperatures 1650599109 8389
Sanchari Chatterjee

By Sanchari Chatterjee

What is Food Cooking Temperature?

About 48 million Americans fall ill due to foodborne illnesses every year, and about 3,000 people die because of it. While some claim they prefer their burgers "still mooing" when served, it is not ideal to consume meat that's borderline raw. This raises concerns of food safety as raw meat or almost raw beef pork can carry harmful pathogens.

Thus, it is crucially important for foodservice businesses to achieve the right cooking temperature in order to produce safe food for their customers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with a food temperature chart that specifies the minimum temperature that each raw food product such as meat poultry and egg dishes needs to be cooked to, in order to get rid of harmful bacteria and viruses. Moreover, in addition to food safety, customers also look for different textures and doneness when it comes to meat. In order to be able to produce beef pork steak that is medium well or medium rare, or well done, you need to follow specific cooking temperatures.

What is the Danger Zone?

Food Temperature in the range of 40-140 F is referred to as the "danger zone" because cooked or uncooked food products when left in this temperature range, stand the risk of getting contaminated. At this stage, the food can create a safe environment for deadly bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella Enteriditis which may lead to severe illnesses.

Bacteria grow at a rapid pace in the "danger zone" temperature range of 40-140 F. Harmful bacteria double their population within minutes and can contaminate food easily. This is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with guidelines on how to keep food out of the food temperature "danger zone" by following safe cooking temperatures, safe food storage methods and reheating techniques.

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Why is Cooking Temperature so Important?

As a foodservice establishment, you do not want to risk your brand reputation, customers' health or get hauled up by law enforcement. In order to make sure you do not end up on the wrong side of Food Safety regulations, achieving the right cooking temperature and safe internal temperature is of prime importance.

This is why the FDA has prepared an internal temperature chart that lists the right safe minimum temperatures for different kinds of meat poultry, egg dishes and beef pork. While serving a well done beef steak, you wouldn't want your customer to complain that the thickest part feels raw. So getting the right cooking temperature is crucial to make sure the food you are about to serve is both, safe and cooked according to the preference of your customer.

What is a Temperature Chart?

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While different kinds of meat products such as beef pork, ground meat, veal and lamb, etc. need different cooking temperatures, it might get tricky for chefs and kitchen assistants to always know the exact temperature that a particular item needs. Moreover, when you are running a high-functioning kitchen with a plethora of other tasks, you might end up mixing up the numbers.

A minimum internal temperature chart will make sure food is cooked to the required temperature. The temperature chart also specifies the cooking time for each item.

Cooking Temperatures for Different Foods

The USDA has prepared a detailed list of all the right internal temperatures to cook safe food that will make sure you are not risking your customers' health. All internal temperatures mentioned below are measured using food thermometers. The unit used is Fahrenheit (F).


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Tips and Tools to Cook Food at the Right Cooking Temperature

  1. Achieving the right cooking temperature is absolutely essential for any restaurant kitchen. The best way to do this is with a food thermometer. Restaurants in particular ought to make sure they buy the Best Meat thermometer in the market in order to get real time, accurate readings of the internal temperature of the meat poultry items they cook.
  2. The Best Bluetooth food thermometer systems, like Zip Temperature, work wirelessly. They give your chefs and kitchen staff the flexibility to move around the kitchen, while keeping an eye on the cooking temperature at the same time.
  3. Set up your food thermometer's automatic alarm and notification system to alert you when the cooking temperature hits the desired level. This will help you to prevent overcooking or burning food.
  4. Opt for multiple thermometer probes so that you can keep tabs on multiple items at the same time. This will also ensure food safety as you won't have to use the same probe for meat, bakery goods, poultry and fish.

Food Safety FAQs

Q- Are there different types of food thermometers available in the market?
A- There are various types of food thermometers available today. You can use specialized meat thermometers that can withstand extremely high cooking temperatures to measure meat poultry, beef pork items, or refrigerator thermometers to measure the temperature inside freezers. Bluetooth and wireless food thermometers are more accurate, efficient and easy to use than manual food thermometers.

Q. Who is more prone to foodborne illnesses?
A- The CDC has said that a large section of the American population is affected by foodborne illnesses every year. About 3,000 people die every year due to these diseases. Senior citizens, children and those battling terminal illnesses and immunity disorders are more vulnerable to catching these diseases than the rest of the populace.

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"Our customer's trust is what keeps us in business. They expect fresh tasting food with no threat of ill-born diseases. Zip HACCP keeps us compliant with HACCP and FDA regulations through its integrated temperature solutions, food safety assurance, and end-to-end task reporting. We also use Zip Inventory to save time on inventory counts and have much-needed predictability to our ordering process. The Hubworks business management apps are perfect for our restaurants."


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