USDA Food Temperature Guidelines

The USDA has set standards to establish the safe minimum cooking temperatures for most meats to prevent food borne illness. With all the product recalls recently and the E. coli concerns nowadays, most people prefer their food thoroughly cooked.

The only way to be 100% sure that the food is done thoroughly is to use a good thermometer. With that in mind here are the temperatures recommended for each type of food that you may grill.

It is important to note here that these temperatures need to be held for at least 15 seconds to kill all harmful bacteria.

USDA Food Temperature Guidelines

Any Ground Meat, 160 degrees (this includes beef, turkey, pork and chicken)

Red Meat a.k.a Beef, Veal, or Lamb, Medium Rare 145 degrees- Medium 160 degrees- Well Done 170 degrees

Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck or goose) 165 degrees

Pork fresh and raw ham 145 degrees

Ham Precooked 140 degrees.

Fish 145 degrees

Shrimp and Lobster is fully cooked when it turns opaque and firm

Poultry is in bold font because the majority of poultry sold in the US carries bacteria that is harmful to humans. The best way to get rid of it is to cook it to 165 degrees and hold that temp. for at least 15 seconds. We have a guide on approximately how long it takes to get into these temperature ranges on your grill.

Using this chart and an accurate food thermometer is the only sure way to know that your food has reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy any bacteria in it.

About the author: Mike is the owner of, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.

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