Cooking Turkey

Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals often involve the cooking of turkey.

Last year, the Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a change in the “Single Minimum Internal Temperature Established for Cooked Poultry”. The new recommendation for cooking turkey, chisken and other poultry is as follows:

Single Minimum Internal Temperature Established For Cooked Poultry

Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Tara Balsley

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2006 – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today advised consumers that cooking raw poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F will eliminate pathogens and viruses.

The single minimum internal temperature requirement of 165°F was recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).

“The Committee was asked to determine a single minimum temperature for poultry at which consumers can be confident that pathogens and viruses will be destroyed,” said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond. “The recommendation is based on the best scientific data available and will serve as a foundation for our programs designed to reduce foodborne illness and protect public health.”

Scientific research indicates that foodborne pathogens and viruses, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and the avian influenza virus, are destroyed when poultry is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. FSIS recommends the use of a food thermometer to monitor internal temperature. In addition, consumers should follow important tips for handling raw poultry. These tips can be summarized in three words–clean, separate and chill. Clean means to wash hands and surfaces often; separate means to keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods; chill means to refrigerate or freeze foods promptly.

FSIS will use the NACMCF recommendation to further guide consumers in the preparation of poultry products to ensure microbiological safety. While the NACMCF has established 165°F as the minimum temperature at which bacteria and viruses will be destroyed, consumers, for reasons of personal preference, may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. “Ask Karen” is the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day to answer your questions at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/
Ask_Karen/index.asp#Question
.

The NACMCF was established in 1988 to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply. The Committee is comprised of 30 voting members with scientific expertise in the fields of epidemiology, food technology, microbiology, risk assessment, infectious disease, biostatistics and other related sciences.

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