Experts: All summer grill masters should use a thermometer

May 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM
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CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) -- One-in-4 hamburgers turns brown before it's been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature, so U.S. experts urge all grill masters to use a thermometer.

Nutritionists and ConAgra Foods encouraged all cooks to equip themselves with a food thermometer -- the only way to determine if foods were fully cooked and safe to eat. A 2011 survey from the Home Food Safety program found only 23 percent of U.S. adults uses a food thermometer to check the done-ness of meat and poultry items.

"You can't rely on color, smell, taste or texture alone to determine if meat is thoroughly cooked," Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian nutritionist and academy spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"The only way to know food is done is to use a food thermometer."

"Food poisoning sickens 48 million Americans each year, so food safety should be on your radar as you grill out this summer," she said. "This is especially true for people who are at high-risk for food poisoning, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic illnesses."

Mangieri suggested:

-- Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the food, making sure it doesn't touch bone, fat or gristle.

-- Cook until the thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for ground beef, pork, veal and egg dishes; 145 degrees F for beef, pork, veal and lamb steaks, chops and roasts; and 165 percent F for all poultry.

-- Some foods need 3 minutes of rest time after cooking to make sure harmful germs are destroyed, including fresh beef, veal, lamb, pork and raw ham.

-- Clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water before and after each use.

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