|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Susan Conley (202) 720-7943
Elizabeth Gaston (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2001 -- This year, instead of a tie or shirt, why not give Dad a gadget that is innovative as well as useful. A food thermometer is a great gift and will help keep the family safe.
In the warm summer months, food can more quickly reach the "Danger Zone" (the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, where bacteria multiply rapidly), so it's more important than ever to be sure food is handled safely. This is a great time to encourage Dad to use a food thermometer when he serves as the "chief griller" for picnics and barbecues.
"Using a food thermometer is the only way to tell if food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria," said Susan Conley, director of Food Safety Education for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. "That's why the FSIS has created Thermy, a messenger to help educate cooks and encourage the use of food thermometers. Thermy says, ‘It's Safe to Bite When the Temperature is Right!’"
The Thermy Web site can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/thermy.
Thermometer companies, manufacturers, and distributors are making food thermometers that are more user friendly and accessible to consumers. Some grocery stores are helping you find food thermometers by placing them right at the meat counter. Some types of food thermometers include:
Wireless Thermometer and Timer.
The USDA recommends that roasts, steaks, and chops of beef, veal, or lamb be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 °F for medium rare and 160 °F for medium. Fresh pork should reach 160 °F. Whole poultry should reach 180 °F, as measured in the thigh. Hamburgers made of ground beef should be cooked to 160 °F; ground poultry to 165 °F.
In addition to using a food thermometer, the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Fight BAC! campaign advises:
More information on Fight BAC! can be found at http://www.fightbac.org.
For additional food safety information about meat, poultry, or egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s toll-free number, 1 (800) 535-4555; Washington, DC area, (202) 720-3333. The toll-free number for the hearing impaired (TTY) is 1 (800) 256-7072.
The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. In addition, food safety information is available on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.
For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460
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