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Safe Cooking Guidelines

Learn how to cook eggs, poultry, fish and meat safely.

Cooking meat, poultry, and fish safely

Using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and fish can help prevent foodborne illness. The USDA recommends the following minimum internal temperatures:

  • Beef, veal and lamb (steak and roasts), and fish: 145°F
  • Pork and ground beef: 160°F
  • Poultry: 165°F

In the EatingWell Test Kitchen, we often suggest cooking meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. However, those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness—pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses—should follow the USDA guidelines listed above.

Cooking eggs safely

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and egg dishes should be cooked to 160°F.

However, the EatingWell Test Kitchen sometimes recommends cooking eggs to temperatures lower than those recommended by the USDA. Those at high risk—pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses—should follow the guidelines above and/or use pasteurized egg products, found in the dairy section of large supermarkets.



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