A recent increase in reports of undercooked meat and poultry received by our Environmental Health Office prompts this reminder about the importance of cooking these foods to their correct minimum food temperatures. Food borne illnesses that can result from undercooking these foods (such as Salmonella and E. coli O157) can be very serious—even life threatening. Not only is proper temperature monitoring important, but you must take into consideration any change in the portion size of the food that is being cooked. Additionally, kitchen equipment that is being used to cook food and monitor temperatures should be properly maintained and calibrated to assure that they are working properly.
For instance, if the size of the hamburger patty received from the supplier has increased, the cooking time and heat settings on equipment will normally need to be adjusted in order to meet the minimum cooking temperatures required for food safety. Food service operators and consumers can check out the FoodSafety.gov guide to Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures to review the minimum safe cook temperatures for a variety of foods that can support the growth of bacteria if mishandled.