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Cooking Meat? Check the New Recommended Temperatures

Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.

Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.

Cross posted from the blog:

On May 24, USDA made some important changes in their recommended cooking temperatures for meats. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Pork: USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 ºF to 145 ºF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.
  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Other Meats: For beef, veal, and lamb cuts, the safe temperature remains unchanged at 145 ºF, but the department has added a three-minute rest time as part of its cooking recommendations.

What Cooking Temperatures Didn’t Change?

  • Ground Meats: This change does not apply to ground meats, including beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 ºF and do not require a rest time.
  • Poultry: The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, stays the same at 165 ºF.

What Is Rest Time?

“Rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria.

Why Did the Recommendations Change?

  • It’s just as safe to cook cuts of pork to 145 º F with a three-minute rest time as it is to cook them to 160 ºF, the previously recommended temperature, with no rest time. The new cooking recommendations reflect the same standards that the agency uses for cooked meat products produced in federally inspected meat establishments, which rely on the rest time of three minutes to achieve a safe product.
  • Having a single time and temperature combination for all meat will help consumers remember the temperature at which they can be sure the meat is safe to eat.

How Do You Use a Food Thermometer?

Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle. Start checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Be sure to clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.

To see where to place a food thermometer in different cuts of meat, see Thermometer Placement and Temperatures. For more information on cooking temperatures for all types of food, see the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart.

If you have questions about cooking meat, feel free to contact us at the Hotline (1-888-674-6854 toll-free) or online at (English and Spanish) or (Mobile Ask Karen) on your smartphone.

21 Responses to “Cooking Meat? Check the New Recommended Temperatures”

  1. milan bedrosian says:

    can one cook chicken at oven temp of 200 degrees and be sure it is safe to consume?

  2. Jeff W. says:

    According to the article, it doesn’t matter what the oven temp is set at as long as the internal temp of the poultry gets to at least 165*F.

  3. CBrown says:

    I believe Milan Bedrosian is asking is a 200 degree oven temperature sufficient to raise the meat temperature quickly enough so that the meat temp will not be in the danger zone for too long a time.

  4. JBob says:

    I’m sure that you *could* cook chicken in the oven at 200 degrees, but it’s going to take a long time to get done, and it’s going to fall apart.

  5. StPaul says:

    The article reads “…all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, stays the same at 165 ºF.” Does that mean whole whole cuts of poultry products too?

  6. KL says:

    @StPaul, yes, all poultry products should be cooked to 165*F, whether whole or ground.

  7. Mike Mychajlonka PhD says:

    We know that intact meat is itself a barrier to pathogen penetration into the interior. We also know that many cuts of meat have been needle or blade “tenderized.” We know that such treatment will drive any surface contamination into the interior. The cut of meat pictured shows a pronounced Maillard reaction and looks like it has been cooked in a pan having a surface temperature of 350 – 400F. However, while this recommendation does specify that it applies to “Whole Cuts,” I don’t see anything in this recommendation that speaks to “Whole Cuts” of meat that have been needle or blade “tenderized,” As many are by the time they reach the consumer. Should these be cooked, like ground meat, to an internal temperature of 160F?

  8. Mary Mazman says:

    How can I get a list of safe temperatures for all meats and chicken?

  9. Jeff W says:

    These RECCOMENDED Temps not allow for any RARE MEATS…Your as well NOWHERE TAKING INTO Account ALTITUDE DIFFERENCES—Health departments are taking these temps as LAW NOT RECCOMENDED!!! I Was in a COOKing competition requiring these temps and all the food was WAY over cooked in the BEEF AND LAMB Categories…WAKE UP DO YOUR WORK !!! RARE IS NOT BAD ON INSIDE AND if there bacteria inside your not doing your work at the Growers!!!!

  10. TOM JOHNSON says:

    Why does this USDA post vary from section 3-401.11(A) (2) of the 2013 FDA Food Code? Providing consumers with food temperature requirements from many years ago that are several CFP cycles behind the times is confusing at best.

    The correct minimum safe core temp/time for preparation of raw ground beef and pork, is 155ºF, not 160º or something else. It is critical that signatories of the FDA Food code – at the very least – provide accurate and timely information to the consuming public.

  11. jack says:

    1 place it says pork 145 another place it says 165 which is it

  12. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @jack – thank you for your question. All whole cuts of pork should be cooked to 145 ˚F, and rest for 3 minutes before eating. The safe cooking temperature for poultry is 165 ˚F. If you can point out for us where it says 165 ˚F is the safe temperature for pork, we’ll be sure to make a correction. Thank you for catching this.

  13. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Tom Johnson – Good question. Temperatures in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Food Code are for food service establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, cafeterias, etc.). Those cooking food in these establishments are trained cooks using professional cooking equipment and established processes. USDA makes cooking recommendations for the home cook. Although our recommendations are similar and in some cases overlap, there is a margin of safety built into our recommendations for some topics, including endpoint cooking temperatures.

  14. Carol says:

    Has there been any studies on the following questions.
    At what temperature reduces the fat in round pork?
    What is the relative best method for reducing fat: boiling , broiling or pan fried?
    Any help would be appreciated.

  15. Sue says:

    Can you cook at stuffed turkey in the charbroil big easy? If so how long will it take?

  16. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Sue – for optimum safety, USDA does not recommend cooking a stuffed turkey on a grill. The manufacturer of this product also does not recommend cooking stuffing inside a turkey. See Question 5 at this link, provided by the manufacturer:

  17. Marilyn says:

    145 degrees for steak? that’s over-cooked. I thought 130 degrees and a 10 minutes of rest was medium and 125 degrees with 15 minutes rest was safe medium rare. How is it I can order rare or med rare in a restaurant? I am certain that it isn’t 145 degrees and rare.

  18. sara says:

    i’m from the south can you deep fry a squirrel

  19. Mimi says:

    There is a product called “meat glue.” Can you provide very clear facts on how to safely cook MEAT GLUED cuts of meat? These cuts are made from scraps, but are processed with an enzyme made from the blood of cattle or pigs. Because the outside gets inside, it can pose a health risk.

  20. Maria says:

    Does the USDA have doneness ranges for meat that correlate to temperature? i.e. medium rare, medium, etc?

  21. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Maria – great question. USDA’s recommended internal temperatures are our recommendations for safety. We don’t have recommendations for “doneness” (rare, medium, well done). While the recommended internal temperatures ensure destruction of pathogens in food, doneness reflects subjective qualities such as the appearance, texture, and optimum flavor of a food. Research has shown that these indicators are not reliable for safety. Only a food thermometer can be relied upon to accurately ensure bacterial destruction. Visual signs of doneness should be reserved for situations in which doneness is reached after the food has reached a safe temperature.

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