It's officially summer, which means plenty of upcoming cookouts and gatherings where people will be bringing food.  To ensure you're food safe this summer, the USDA encourages the use of food thermometers to avoid getting sick.

According to the USDA, here are temperature guidelines for popular 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.

Making sure your meat is cooked to the proper temperature helps to ensure all bacteria has been destroyed.  Here are three other things you can do to help avoid getting sick.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cook: Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat and poultry. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food.

Another handy tip is to throw away any food that has been sitting out longer than two hours.

I have suffered through food poisoning before and it's pure misery.  Hopefully you and your guests can benefit from these recommendations.