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At what temperatures should I cook food to kill bacteria?

Cooking foods to the right temperature can kill harmful bacteria in most foods. Following are proper temperatures for cooking foods to kill bacteria:

  • Ground beef or pork should be cooked to 160 F (71.1 C).
  • Steaks and roasts should reach at least 145 F (62.8 C).
  • Pork should be cooked to at least 145 F (71.1 C).
  • For chicken and turkey, cook to 165 F (73.9 C).
  • Fish is usually cooked safely when it reaches 145 F (62.8 C).
  • Eggs should be cooked until the yolk and white are firm.

Most steaks, roasts and chops should rest for 3 minutes after cooking, before serving, during which time the temperature continues to rise or remains constant, which destroys germs. If preparing shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crab, cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm. Cook clams, mussels and oysters until the shells are open.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

Dr. Bryce B. Wylde
Alternative & Complementary Medicine Specialist

Following are recommended temperatures for cooking meats:

  • Hamburger: 71 degrees C (160 degrees F)
  • Roast, Steaks: 63 degrees C (145 degrees F) medium rare,71 degrees C (160 degrees F) medium 77°C (170° F), well done
  • Ground Poultry: 74 degrees C (165 degrees F)
  • Poultry Parts: 82-85 degrees C (180-185 degrees F) Cook until juices run clear
  • Turkey: 85 degrees C (185 degrees F). Cook until juices run clear
  • Pork: 70 degrees C (160 degrees F) - 71 degrees C (160 degrees F) medium, 77 degrees C (170 degrees F) well done
  • Fish: 63 degrees C (145 degrees F). Should be opaque and should flake easily

The temperature you should cook your meat to depends on the type of meat. Ground meat of any kind and egg dishes should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Poultry and leftover food should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh steak and pork should be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees. Eggs should be cooked until they are firm, and fish should be cooked until it is white and flakey.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Apply the minimum cooking temperature for beef, lamb and veal (145deg F); ground meats (165deg F); fresh pork and ham (160deg F); poultry (165deg F); eggs (till yolk is firm); and leftovers and casseroles (165deg F). Don't be fooled by the meat's color. Use an internal meat thermometer to be certain, and be sure to wash it before each new temperature check.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.