Temperature Guide

It takes thorough cooking to kill harmful bacteria. Eating raw and undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs can increase the risk of foodborne illness. The elderly, pregnant women, very young children and chronically ill persons with weakened immune systems are at greater risk. The consequences of foodborne illness can be serious. Here are some recommendations to
cut your risk:

  • Never taste raw or partially cooked meat, poultry, eggs, or fish.
  • Always thaw or marinate raw meats or poultry in the refrigerator. Never reuse marinade.
  • Cooking temperatures in conventional ovens should be at least 350° F. Partial or interrupted cooking often produces conditions that encourage bacterial growth.
  • Cooking food to an internal temperature of 160° F usually protects against foodborne illness. To make sure meat or poultry over two inches thick is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer. Insert the tip into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding fat, bone or gristle. For poultry, insert the tip into the thick part of the thigh next to the body. For meat and poultry less than two inches thick, look for clear juices and lack of pink in the center as signs of “doneness”.
  • Cook frozen meat or poultry about one and one half times the length required for the same cut when thawed.
  • Never make recipes in which eggs remain raw or partially cooked. Salmonella, a bacteria that causes food poisoning can grow inside fresh, unbroken eggs. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Scramble eggs to a firm texture.
  • Stir and rotate your food for even cooking in the microwave. The Microwave cooking process sometimes leaves cold spots in foods. Bacteria can survive in these spots. Observe the standing time called for in a recipe or package directions. During the standing time, food finishes cooking. Insert the oven temperature probe or a meat thermometer to check that food is done.
  Cook to this Internal temperature Visual Checks
Ground meats (veal, beef,
lamb, pork)
160°F no longer pink
Fresh beef    
• rare (some bacterial risk) 140°F red center
• medium 160°F pale pink center
• well done 170°F not pink
Fresh lamb, pork and veal    
• medium 160°F pale pink center
• well done 170°F not pink
Leftover cooked meats 165°F steaming hot
whole chicken, turkey,
duck and goose
180°F juices run clear
leg moves easily tender
poultry, breasts, roasts 170°F clear juice, fork tender
poultry, thighs and wings 170°F cook until juices run clear
ground turkey, chicken 170°F no longer pink
stuffing, cooked alone or
in the bird
fully-cooked poultry safe to eat cold if
properly stored
to reheat leftovers 165°F steaming hot
fish, filleted and whole 140°F flesh is opaque, flakes easily
shellfish   opaque, steaming hot
Fresh (raw) 160°F steaming hot
Precooked (to reheat) 140°F steaming hot
Shoulder 160°F steaming hot
fresh   both yolk and white firm
eggs based sauces and custards 160°F sauces coat spoon, are firm



Revised 6/00
University of Rhode Island
Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education