Every year during National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States. Approximately 50.5 million Hispanics live in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF, 1.5 MB).
Practicing Spanish, learning more about the life of Roberto Clemente or learning some salsa moves sounds like fun, right? Let’s add some delicious traditional foods with amazing aromas and flavors to get this fiesta started.
Many traditional dishes include meat, poultry or both as the main dish. It is common to wonder if the food is properly seasoned while preparing it, but have you ever wondered if the internal temperature is safe? Simply use a food thermometer to check if the carne asada, or grilled or shredded chicken is safe to eat. A recent study by USDA shows that 66 percent of participants did not use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of their food. The only way to know if your food is safe to eat is by using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. Color and touch are never an indication of doneness. In some cases, the meat or poultry may look done and the juices may run clear, but bacteria may still be present if the food has not reached the correct internal temperature. The USDA-recommended safe minimum internal temperatures are:
- Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb:
Steaks, chops, roasts 145°F (allow to rest for at least 3 minutes)
- Ground meats: 160°F
- Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked): 145°F (allow to rest for at least 3 minutes)
- Fully Cooked Ham: (to reheat) Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140°F and all others to 165°F
- All Poultry: (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings; ground poultry; and stuffing) 165°F
- Leftovers: 165°F
Once you know that the food is safely cooked, it’s time to move from the kitchen to the buffet table. You can keep cold food at 40°F or below, by keeping serving dishes on trays of ice. For items served hot, serve in slow cookers or warming trays to keep them at 140°F or above. Also, motivate guests to clean their hands by placing hand sanitizer or moist towelettes at the beginning of the serving line. Once every guest has enjoyed a delicious and safe meal, it’s time to pack up what’s left. With such delicious dishes there may be no leftovers, but if there are, they will be safe in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days or they can be stored in the freezer for later use.
Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices, en español, by following FSIS @USDAFoodSafety_Es on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at AskKaren.gov or PregunteleaKaren.gov available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
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I can't lie. I live in Tampa, Florida where the population is made up greatly of Cubans, (which by the way, have a sandwich named for them) Italians, Caribbean Island Nations, where I come in. Born and Living in Tampa, (rare, I know) have been celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, my entire life. I love the flavours of Scotch Bonnet Peppers, saffron, garlic, rosemary, and most all herbs in just about everything I cook. I always appreciate the gentle reminders offered for the correct temperatures for doneness of meats and fowl. But "FISH" is left out for some reason. Everyone doesn't know that not all fish can be served raw. (Sushi and Sashimi lovers!)
@Ethel M Ebanks - thank you for your comment. Yes, you’re correct, fish is an item that should also be cooked to a certain temperature for safety. We recommend to cook fish to 145°F or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who regulates this product has even more food safety tips about fish here: go.usa.gov/xPZ3t
This article was written beautifully. I especially like the bulleted section identifying "The USDA-recommended safe minimum internal temperatures". This could easily be printed out and placed as a reminder near the recipe section in ones home.
Thank you for sharing!
Very nice article and information! Is there any way we can get the recipe on the USDA Home Page for the dish that looks like huevos rancheros? It looks delicious and I would like to try to make it. Thank you.
@Diane Lambert - thank you for your comment. The dish is a traditional Chilean egg dish. It includes chili (spices & peppers), tomatoes, and onions. Unfortunately we do not have a recipe for the exact dish displayed, however we do have an alternative. It can be found here: www.choosemyplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/salsa-fresca
You can also do a general web search for “Chilean egg dish” to find other alternatives.
Thanks for info on appropriate temps of food items. I love to eat bison when I can find it. Is it same temp as beef? Also, for your readers, Here is a good reference for Clemente’s record. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=clemero01
@Juan - Thank you for your comment. Yes, cook all raw bison steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. We hope this helps.