The temperature of foods during preparation and serving are super important when trying to keep our health in check. If we don’t cook or store perishable food items at the correct temperatures, we can easily get sick by risking food-borne illnesses, or food poisoning. Most people who acquire a form of food-borne illness don’t become sick until 1-3 days afterwards. On rare occasions, some react within 20 minutes to 6 weeks later! Common signs of food poisoning might be vomiting, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches, or body pains.
The most helpful way to avoid these illnesses is by using CSCC (Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill).
Clean: scrub, sanitize, rinse, or properly wash food and food surfaces before preparation.
Separate: keep raw meats and other refrigerated items away from shelf stable items to avoid cross-contamination. This includes separate cutting boards, bowls, plates, and utensils. It’s also recommended to keep meats on the lowest shelf of the fridge to avoid any juices spilling or leaking onto food items below.
Cook: roast, fry, bake, or heat food items to the proper temperature to ensure complete cooking and kill off all harmful bacteria.
Chill: after cooking, allow to cool to room temperature and place in the refrigerator. Try not to leave food items sitting out for over an hour. The best temperature to keep the fridge is between 0-39℉.
So what is a “good” temperature to cook meat, you might wonder? Depending on the type of meat, the temperature zones vary. With tougher meats such as pork and beef, the recommended cooking temperature is 145℉. With leaner meats such as poultry, the recommended cooking temperature is 165℉. All ground meats of any kind should be cooked to at least 160℉. There are several charts you can easily access for safe temperature zones, but these are some general guidelines to keep you safe and healthy in the kitchen!