Cooking Foods to the Right Temperature

Raw meat on plates

After ordering, receiving, inspecting, and storing your food, it’s finally time to cook. That doesn’t mean that the hard part is over - when preparing meals, it’s important to cook your purchased food to the correct temperature in order to diminish the risk of foodborne illnesses. 

Temperature Guidelines

Poultry (whole or ground), stuffings, stuffed meat, seafood, pasta, and previously cooked ingredients or dishes need to cook until internal temperature reaches 165℉, and maintains that temperature for 15 seconds.

Ground meat (beef, pork), brined ham, injected meat, ground seafood, eggs that will be held need to cook until internal temperature reaches 155℉, and maintains that temperature for 15 seconds.

Roasts (pork, beef, veal, and lamb) need to cook until internal temperature reaches 145℉, and maintains that temperature for 4 minutes.

Ready to eat food that will be held for service, and fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes need to cook until internal temperature reaches 135℉

Remember to Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold

When cooling foods:  

  • Foods must pass through the danger zone (135 – 70℉) quickly to reduce pathogen growth
  • Cool foods from 135 to 41℉ within six hours
    • 135 – 70℉ within 2 hours
    • 70 – 41℉ degrees within 4 hours
  • If food has not reached these goals in the allotted time, food must be thrown out
  • Use ice water baths, ice paddles, shallow pans, or blast chillers for cooling

Source: ServeSafe®  Food Certification Course Book - Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association, 2009.  
2009 Federal Food Code