Microwaves and food safety

Posted on August 23, 2009 by


We have all forgotten foods in our microwave. In this busy society, it’s typical. The phone rings, the kids need us or we just go to work and forget about the roast, chicken, coffee that we wanted to heat, cook or defrost and just let it sit there.

The microwave dings and we are in another part of our living space and totally forgot that our food that cost us good money is sitting in the microwave.

So what’s a consumer to do? That question became our e-mail of the week. Below are some tips when using a microwave.

1. Use a food thermometer and test food in several places to be sure it has reached the recommended temperature to destroy bacteria and other pathogens that could cause foodborne illness.

2. Follow cooking instructions on product label (or recipe instructions). If a range of time is given, start with the fewest minutes recommended. Add cooking time if necessary to reach a safe internal temperature.

3. Observe the “standing time.” Cooking continues and is completed during standing time. Most importantly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Recommended temperatures for microwaving food safely?

Cook ground meats to 160 °F; ground poultry to 165 °F.

Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 °F; all cuts of fresh pork, 160 °F.

Poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Eggs and casseroles containing eggs, 160 °F.

Fish should reach 145 °F.

Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.

More tips tomorrow.

Posted in: Family safety