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A meal preparation study (PDF, 1.3 MB) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed that only 55% of people use a food thermometer to verify if their food is safe to consume, despite 88% of participants reporting that they own a thermometer. Instead, participants in the study relied on visual cues such as color, firmness and time. But are visual cues enough to prevent foodborne illness?
USDA recommends never relying on color, firmness or time as an indicator to know if your food is fully cooked. Always cook all meats to a minimum safe internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer to prevent foodborne illness. So how does one know “is it done yet?”
To obtain an accurate reading, the food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food, away from bone, fat or gristle.
Too many temperatures to remember? Visit our safe internal temperature chart for a quick and easy reference.
Temperature Thermometers For more information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), email MPHotline@usda.gov to reach a consumer service representative or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.