ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Check the Heat for Safe Thanksgiving Eats


New York, Nov 22, 2006

Everyone looks forward to the moment when a golden brown turkey is placed on the Holiday table, but many of those moments have been ruined when the bird is carved and discovered to be either undercooked or too dry and tasteless. Two members of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), assert that cooking food to its appropriate internal temperature is crucial if holiday diners are to be satisfied with their holiday feast.

First and foremost to keeping the holiday dinner safe is cooking food so that it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. The FDA and USDA advise that although the minimum oven temperature used to cook turkey or other holiday meats is 325 degrees F, the internal temperature of the turkey must reach at least 180 degrees F in order to kill bacteria in the meat. If the turkey is stuffed, it is important to make sure the center of stuffing reaches 165 degrees F, even if the meat itself has already reached 180 degrees F. An underdone turkey means there is a chance that bacteria still exists – but be careful: an overdone turkey won’t taste as good as it could.

Using a food thermometer is the only way to tell if food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria while still keeping the bird tasty and juicy.

Everyday Thermometer Use
Because more people are cooking around the holidays, now is the perfect time to heighten consumer awareness of the importance of cooking with thermometers. But food should be prepared safely year round.

Less than half the population owns a food thermometer; even less use thermometers when cooking meats other than turkey. As an example, an USDA study proved that one in four hamburgers turns brown before it is cooked to a safe internal temperature; yet only three percent of the population use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers.

Using a thermometer for daily cooking does not need to be difficult. A wide variety of thermometers are available – including “high-tech” digital versions and disposable “pop-up” or “instantly read” models: all are easy to use and help to keep everyone safe every day.

“It’s Safe To Bite When The Temperature Is Right”
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) believes so strongly in the importance of using a meat thermometer when cooking that they launched a national campaign to increase public awareness on this issue.

Characterized by a cartoon digital food thermometer named “Thermy,” the campaign offers an education on food safety and encourages the use of a thermometer. The campaign displays Thermy and the phrase, “It’s safe to bite when the temperature is right.” In addition to promotions at grocery, kitchen and department stores, the program also includes distribution of Thermy brochures and magnets, food demonstrations, in-store and newspaper advertisements, local press releases and the use of the public service announcement and the Thermy costume as requested.


This and other seasonal ANSI media tips can be found at www.ansi.org/mediatips.

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