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Calling All Grill Masters: Is It Done Yet? Don't Rely on Color or Texture Alone - Food Thermometer is Key to Avoid Food Poisoning

2013-05-20

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – Ready to fire up the grill for a cookout with family and friends? As part of their award-winning Home Food Safety program, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods encourage all grill masters to equip themselves for the job with a food thermometer—the only way to determine if foods are fully cooked and safe to eat—and with tips from www.HomeFoodSafety.org.

"You can't rely on color, smell, taste or texture alone to determine if meat is thoroughly cooked," says Academy Spokesperson and registered dietitian nutritionist Heather Mangieri.

"In fact, one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it's been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. The only way to know food is done is to use a food thermometer."

According to a 2011 survey from the Home Food Safety program, only 23 percent of Americans use a food thermometer to check the doneness of meat and poultry items.

Mangieri recommends using a food thermometer to ensure meat, poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked and harmful foodborne pathogens are destroyed.

"Food poisoning sickens 48 million Americans each year, so food safety should be on your radar as you grill out this summer," she says. "This is especially true for people who are at high-risk for food poisoning, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic illnesses."

Mangieri offers tips for using a food thermometer:

  • Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the food, making sure it doesn't touch bone, fat or gristle.
  • Cook until the thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160° F for ground beef, pork, veal and egg dishes; 145° F for beef, pork, veal and lamb steaks, chops and roasts; and 165° F for all poultry.
  • Some foods need three minutes of rest time after cooking to make sure harmful germs are destroyed, including fresh beef, veal, lamb, pork and raw ham.
  • Clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water before and after each use.

"Make it easy on yourself and eliminate the guesswork by using a food thermometer," Mangieri says. "It not only will help keep your food safe, it also prevents you from overcooking meat."

For a complete listing of safe cooking temperatures, download the free Is My Food Safe? app. Visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org to download the Safe Grilling Guide and Using a Food Thermometer guide and to view our video on Using a Food Thermometer.

For media interviews with Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokespeople, journalists can contact Ryan O’Malley at 312/899-4769 or email media@eatright.org.

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All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of food poisoning and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in their own kitchens. More information can be found at www.HomeFoodSafety.org.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. To locate a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. Its balanced portfolio includes consumer brands found in 97 percent of America’s households, the largest private brand packaged food business in North America, and a strong commercial and foodservice business. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's® popcorn, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim® beef jerky, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, plus food sold under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club and drug stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with dinner ideas and more. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.