Food safety encompasses many different steps overall. One essential component of food safety includes making sure you properly cook your meats to the right temperature. When you follow proper cooking temperatures, you help to make sure your family doesn’t get sick. Below, we’ve compiled some of the more common meats people eat and their proper cooking temperatures to avoid food-borne illnesses.

Ground Beef and Ground Lamb

Any ground meat you have needs to cook to a higher temperature because there’s a higher chance of bacterial growth. For ground beef or ground lamb, the minimum temperature needs to be 160 degrees.

Beef and Lamb

However, having actual cuts of meat reduces the risk of bacterial growth. Now, you have the option for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done meats. For rare meat, cook it to 125 degrees and let it rest for three minutes. For medium rare, cook the meat to 130-135 degrees. For medium, cook the meat to 135-140 degrees. For medium well, it’s generally accepted anywhere from 140 to 150 degrees. Finally, for well done, the internal temperature should be over 155 degrees.


Just like beef and lamb that is not ground, pork may be served medium rare to well done. If you like your pork medium rare, you should cook the pork to 145 degrees and let it rest for three minutes. If you want your pork medium, cook it to 150 degrees. Next, if you want your pork well done, cook the meat to 160 degrees. On the other hand, if you have ground pork, it should be the same temperature as well done pork.


Who doesn’t love a nice turkey for Thanksgiving or a rotisserie chicken for a special occasion? Poultry has special cooking requirements depending on what you’ve done with the meat. If you’re cooking a whole chicken or turkey, the minimum temperature should be 165 degrees. Additionally, even if you only cook parts of the turkey or chicken (like a breast or thigh), the internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees. The same goes for stuffed meats and ground meat.


All fish, no matter the color, need to be at least 145 degrees. The best way to tell when fish is cooked properly is through a meat thermometer. However, if you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand, you can test the fish to see how flaky it is. If it flakes easily with a fork, you’ve cooked the fish enough. Also, it should be opaque.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind

The only way to accurately gauge the internal temperature of any meat you cook is through a meat thermometer. In addition to following cooking times, you should also consult the internal temperature of meat for complete peace of mind that you’ve properly cooked the meat.

You want to keep your family safe from harmful microbes. At Extreme Microbial Technologies, we have special equipment that helps reduce the amount of microbes on the meat you feed your family. However, you also have to take part in food safety for your family. By following the proper cooking temperatures, you take the necessary steps to avoid food-borne illnesses in your family. If you’re interested in learning about how equipment helps in microbial reduction, call us for more information.