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Cooking Meat? Check the New Recommended Temperatures

Posted by Diane Van, Manager, USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline in Health and Safety
Jun 22, 2020

Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.

Cross posted from the blog:

On May 24, USDA made some important changes in their recommended cooking temperatures for meats. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Pork: USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 ºF to 145 ºF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.
  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Other Meats: For beef, veal, and lamb cuts, the safe temperature remains unchanged at 145 ºF, but the department has added a three-minute rest time as part of its cooking recommendations.

What Cooking Temperatures Didn’t Change?

  • Ground Meats: This change does not apply to ground meats, including beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 ºF and do not require a rest time.
  • Poultry: The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, stays the same at 165 ºF.

What Is Rest Time?

“Rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria.

Why Did the Recommendations Change?

  • It’s just as safe to cook cuts of pork to 145 º F with a three-minute rest time as it is to cook them to 160 ºF, the previously recommended temperature, with no rest time. The new cooking recommendations reflect the same standards that the agency uses for cooked meat products produced in federally inspected meat establishments, which rely on the rest time of three minutes to achieve a safe product.
  • Having a single time and temperature combination for all meat will help consumers remember the temperature at which they can be sure the meat is safe to eat.

How Do You Use a Food Thermometer?

Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle. Start checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Be sure to clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.

To see where to place a food thermometer in different cuts of meat, see Thermometer Placement and Temperatures. For more information on cooking temperatures for all types of food, see the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart.

If you have questions about cooking meat, feel free to contact us at the Hotline (1-888-674-6854 toll-free) or online at Ask USDA.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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milan bedrosian
Jun 16, 2011

can one cook chicken at oven temp of 200 degrees and be sure it is safe to consume?

Jeff W.
Dec 28, 2011

According to the article, it doesn't matter what the oven temp is set at as long as the internal temp of the poultry gets to at least 165*F.

Feb 15, 2012

I believe Milan Bedrosian is asking is a 200 degree oven temperature sufficient to raise the meat temperature quickly enough so that the meat temp will not be in the danger zone for too long a time.

Oct 16, 2012

I'm sure that you *could* cook chicken in the oven at 200 degrees, but it's going to take a long time to get done, and it's going to fall apart.

Feb 28, 2013

The article reads "...all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, stays the same at 165 ºF." Does that mean whole whole cuts of poultry products too?

Jun 12, 2013

@StPaul, yes, all poultry products should be cooked to 165*F, whether whole or ground.

Mike Mychajlonka PhD
Jun 18, 2013

We know that intact meat is itself a barrier to pathogen penetration into the interior. We also know that many cuts of meat have been needle or blade "tenderized." We know that such treatment will drive any surface contamination into the interior. The cut of meat pictured shows a pronounced Maillard reaction and looks like it has been cooked in a pan having a surface temperature of 350 - 400F. However, while this recommendation does specify that it applies to "Whole Cuts," I don't see anything in this recommendation that speaks to "Whole Cuts" of meat that have been needle or blade "tenderized," As many are by the time they reach the consumer. Should these be cooked, like ground meat, to an internal temperature of 160F?

Mary Mazman
Nov 08, 2013

How can I get a list of safe temperatures for all meats and chicken?

Jeff W
Mar 18, 2014

These RECCOMENDED Temps not allow for any RARE MEATS...Your as well NOWHERE TAKING INTO Account ALTITUDE DIFFERENCES---Health departments are taking these temps as LAW NOT RECCOMENDED!!! I Was in a COOKing competition requiring these temps and all the food was WAY over cooked in the BEEF AND LAMB Categories...WAKE UP DO YOUR WORK !!! RARE IS NOT BAD ON INSIDE AND if there bacteria inside your not doing your work at the Growers!!!!

Jun 04, 2015

Why does this USDA post vary from section 3-401.11(A) (2) of the 2013 FDA Food Code? Providing consumers with food temperature requirements from many years ago that are several CFP cycles behind the times is confusing at best.

The correct minimum safe core temp/time for preparation of raw ground beef and pork, is 155ºF, not 160º or something else. It is critical that signatories of the FDA Food code - at the very least - provide accurate and timely information to the consuming public.

Jun 06, 2015

1 place it says pork 145 another place it says 165 which is it

Ben Weaver
Jun 08, 2015

@jack - thank you for your question. All whole cuts of pork should be cooked to 145 ˚F, and rest for 3 minutes before eating. The safe cooking temperature for poultry is 165 ˚F. If you can point out for us where it says 165 ˚F is the safe temperature for pork, we’ll be sure to make a correction. Thank you for catching this.

Ben Weaver
Jun 09, 2015

@Tom Johnson - Good question. Temperatures in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Food Code are for food service establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, cafeterias, etc.). Those cooking food in these establishments are trained cooks using professional cooking equipment and established processes. USDA makes cooking recommendations for the home cook. Although our recommendations are similar and in some cases overlap, there is a margin of safety built into our recommendations for some topics, including endpoint cooking temperatures.

Oct 07, 2015

Has there been any studies on the following questions.
At what temperature reduces the fat in round pork?
What is the relative best method for reducing fat: boiling , broiling or pan fried?
Any help would be appreciated.

Dec 23, 2015

Can you cook at stuffed turkey in the charbroil big easy? If so how long will it take?

Apr 12, 2016

145 degrees for steak? that's over-cooked. I thought 130 degrees and a 10 minutes of rest was medium and 125 degrees with 15 minutes rest was safe medium rare. How is it I can order rare or med rare in a restaurant? I am certain that it isn't 145 degrees and rare.

Apr 18, 2016

i'm from the south can you deep fry a squirrel

Jun 14, 2016

There is a product called "meat glue." Can you provide very clear facts on how to safely cook MEAT GLUED cuts of meat? These cuts are made from scraps, but are processed with an enzyme made from the blood of cattle or pigs. Because the outside gets inside, it can pose a health risk.

Jul 14, 2016

Does the USDA have doneness ranges for meat that correlate to temperature? i.e. medium rare, medium, etc?

Ben Weaver
Jul 15, 2016

@Maria - great question. USDA’s recommended internal temperatures are our recommendations for safety. We don’t have recommendations for “doneness” (rare, medium, well done). While the recommended internal temperatures ensure destruction of pathogens in food, doneness reflects subjective qualities such as the appearance, texture, and optimum flavor of a food. Research has shown that these indicators are not reliable for safety. Only a food thermometer can be relied upon to accurately ensure bacterial destruction. Visual signs of doneness should be reserved for situations in which doneness is reached after the food has reached a safe temperature.

Apr 08, 2017

I was wondering how to test the temperature of ground chicken when it's cooking. The meat is too small to use a

Ben Weaver
Apr 10, 2017

@Deb - great question! You should cook the ground chicken until it is no longer pink. Then, make a pile or mound of the ground chicken and take the temperature that way. Ground chicken should reach 165°F for safety.

Apr 25, 2017

bake chicken
after bake chicken to 165 f I wrap pan of chicken put it back in warm oven to be service for later
how long can it sit before service?

Ben Weaver
Apr 26, 2017

@crystal - Good question. It’s important to keep hot foods hot for safety. Once the chicken is cooked to 165°F, you should plan to hold it at a temperature no lower than 140°F. You can then hold it at that temperature for however long you need.

Samuel Smith (Rochelle Smith)
May 24, 2017

This was very enlightening. Thanks for the info. Now my kids will be safer.

tina upsher
Sep 27, 2017

Beef , veal can be cooked at 145°

Emma Joynes
Oct 02, 2017

Good info, helped my schoolwork greatly ;)

Jan 23, 2018

What about Fish?

BreAnna Azua
Apr 02, 2018

I am now fully aware of cooking temperatures .

Apr 20, 2018

very helpful know i now what the right temperature and how to use a food thermometer

Patricia L Gordon
May 27, 2018

Why are tv cooking shows still being showed beef being cooked to med/rare. 125°
Or 130°

geoff munn
Aug 10, 2018

you say use hot soapy water to clean probes, but if it not boiling water then its not safe, anti bacterial wipes should be used as hot soapy water cannot gaurntee the killing of bacteria

Aug 13, 2018

So, pink meat and red juice does not matter, so long as the "internal temp is proper!" collect ?

Ben Weaver
Aug 15, 2018

@ja - Thank you for your comment. Yes, safely cooked meat & poultry can vary in color. Because doneness and safety cannot be judged by color, it is very important to use a food thermometer when cooking.

Lisa Lewis
Aug 20, 2018


It might be helpful to include a section on rest. In common use (most often with roasts), the phrase "let the meat rest" means to remove it from heat and leave it at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. In the case of a thick roast, the temperature probably wouldn't drop much in three minutes - but what about the case of thinner cuts? How does one maintain the temperature - or does one just add to the cooking time?

Many thanks for your work,
Lisa Lewis

Ben Weaver
Aug 21, 2018

@Lisa Lewis - thanks for your feedback! To answer your question, yes. For safety, thinner cuts of meat may be cooked to a higher internal temperature of 160°F. This is the temperature at which all bacteria is completely destroyed. Alternatively, you can cook to 145°F, remove from heat source, and cover with aluminum foil while resting. This also allows the temperature to rise to a level of safety. I hope this helps!

Aug 23, 2018

I just. Asked raw chicken breast in a sauce that had cooked pork sausage in it. The internal temperature of the chicken is now cooked at 180• F.
Is it safe now?

Sep 25, 2018

The date on this is 2011. Can't you update that to lend more credibility to the site?

Tom Boyce
Feb 06, 2019

Government errs on the side of safety, but these temperatures (except poultry) means your meat will be over cooked and it's proteins denatured to the point of being nutritionally null.

raul mills
Feb 15, 2019

for how long do you have to keep the thermometer in the meat, 15 sec, 20 sec ???

Feb 18, 2019

How do you cook a USDA netted Turkey Roast that doesn't have how much it weighs or how to cook it.


Ben Weaver
Feb 21, 2019

@Billee - we have a general cooking chart for turkey roasting & additional cooking tips here:

Most turkeys weigh about 12 lbs. That would be a good starting point. Remember to always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey. When it reaches 165°F, it is safe to eat. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook it longer.

Melissa Cormier
Feb 27, 2019

What is the recommended internal temperature for frozen fully cooked poultry products (RTE) in reconstitution?

Ben Weaver
Mar 04, 2019

@Melissa Cormier - thank you for your comment. When reheating leftovers or foods that have already been prepared/RTE, be sure they reach 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Find more information on leftover food safety here:

Jim Mould
May 03, 2019

At what temperature would I cook hamburgers and meatloaf at. Your response will be greatly appreciated. Thank You

Ben Weaver
May 06, 2019

@Jim Mould - thank you for your comment. These products should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F as measured by a food thermometer.

Suja Menon
Sep 15, 2019

When I cook chicken burgers I find that though the Centre reaches 165 deg, the side ( not the top or bottom) is still around 140 deg only. Should I wait until it gets to 165? In which case, the centre would probably get close to 200.

Ben Weaver
Sep 16, 2019

@Suja Menon - thank you for your comment. To get an accurate reading, we recommend to:

  1. Remove the burger from direct heat
  2. Insert the thermometer into the side of the burger, horizontally, until the probe reaches the center. Typically burgers cook from the outside inward, meaning the center takes the longest to reach a safe temperature. If you’re doing the things above and still get that reading, then yes, it would be best to continue to cook the burger until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

I hope this helps!

Oct 28, 2019

I appreciate this article, thank you.
When cooking a meatloaf in the standard deep bread pan, I was considering how much longer it takes the center to get up to temp. I do mine in a cast iron fry pan, but it’s getting too heavy at my age. Time to lighten the load, yet I don’t want the outside parts to become dry. Your recommendations please!