How to properly cook and store Chicken, Beef, Pork, and Turkey, according to CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in order for meat in your fridge to be safe to consume, you have to make sure it’s properly stored.

You should not wash raw poultry or meat before cooking it, even though some older recipes may call for this step. Washing raw poultry or meat can spread bacteria to other foods, utensils, and surfaces, and does not prevent illness.

Chicken, Beef, Pork, and Turkey should be refrigerated at 40°F or colder within 2 hours after preparation. Large cuts of meat, such as roasts or a whole turkey, should be divided into small quantities for refrigeration so they’ll cool quickly enough to prevent bacteria from growing.

When cooking Chicken, Beef, Pork, and Turkey, use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature. You can’t tell if meat is properly cooked by looking at its color or juices. By thoroughly cooking poultry and meat, you can kill bacteria by cooking poultry and meat to a safe internal temperature.

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Chart

Follow the guidelines below for minimum cooking temperatures and rest time for meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods.

Be sure to use a food thermometer to check whether meat has reached a safe internal temperature that is hot enough to kill harmful germs that cause food poisoning.

Food Type Internal Temperature (°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures Beef, pork, veal, lamb 160
Turkey, chicken 165
Fresh beef, veal, lamb Steaks, roasts, chops
Rest time: 3 minutes
145
Poultry All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing) 165
Pork and ham Fresh pork, including fresh ham
Rest time: 3 minutes
145
Precooked ham (to reheat)
Note: Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140°F
165
Eggs and egg dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm
Egg dishes (such as frittata, quiche) 160
Leftovers and casseroles Leftovers and casseroles 165
Seafood Fish with fins 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
Shrimp, lobster, crab, and scallops Cook until flesh is pearly or white, and opaque
Clams, oysters, mussels Cook until shells open during cooking

Raw and undercooked meat and poultry can make you sick. Most raw poultry contains Campylobacter. It also may contain SalmonellaClostridium perfringens, and other bacteria. Raw meat may contain SalmonellaE. coliYersinia, and other bacteria.

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