Food safety experts recommend thawing foods in the refrigerator or the microwave oven or putting the package in a water-tight plastic bag submerged in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. Changing the water ensures that the food is kept cold, an important factor for slowing bacterial growth that may occur on the outer thawed portions while the inner areas are still thawing.
Thawing in the Microwave:
Follow package directions. Leave about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) between the food and the inside surface of the microwave to allow heat to circulate. Smaller items will defrost more evenly than larger pieces of food. Foods defrosted in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately after thawing. Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water; bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.
Safe Cooking & Guidelines for Final Cooking Temperatures:
The table below provides the minimum recommended temperature needed to destroy harmful microorganisms in food that is cooked by conventional methods (i.e., heat sources other than a microwave) and also microwave cooking.
|Food Product||Minimum Internal Temperature Using º F|
|Ground beef, ground pork, sausage||155|
|Pork, ham, and bacon||155|
|All other potentially hazardous foods, including eggs, fish, beans, rice, whole meat and seafood||145|
|Beef roast (medium-rare)||140|
|Beef roast (rare)||130|
Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. So food safety experts recommend setting the refrigerator at 40 degrees F and the freezer unit at 0 degrees F. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Do not defrost or marinate food on the kitchen counter. Use the refrigerator, cold running water or the microwave. Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Remove the stuffing from poultry or other stuffed meats and refrigerate it in a separate container. Do not pack the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe. Reheat food thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees F. or until hot and steaming. In a microwave, cover good and rotate so that it heats evenly and allow a minute or two for it to stand for a more thorough heating. Check your microwave's recommended times and power levels. Inadequate heating can contribute to illness.