Savannah Valley District

The Essential Kitchen Item

Gayle Williford, 4-H Youth Development/ Food Systems & Safety Agent

What is one of the most critical tools for anyone who cooks? A food thermometer, of course!

Not long ago, consumers were told to cook poultry until the juices run clear. Today, they are instructed to cook foods to a safe minimum internal temperature. The temperature depends on the food. Many families are eating more lean meats. A tough finished product can result from overcooking meat, especially lean meat. Certain meats also require “resting” time. This allows the innermost parts and juices to reach the correct minimum internal temperature. Reaching that temperature is the only way to kill pathogens that cause foodborne illness. A food thermometer is the only way to determine if the required temperature has been reached.

A large variety of thermometers are available for purchase at affordable prices. Many come with temperature charts as guides to correct temperatures for different types of foods.

Food Thermometers

For more information, visit Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and see Factsheet #3587- Food Thermometers: The Key to Food Safety to determine which type of thermometer to look for on your next shopping trip, or visit .

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