It's safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to adjust our hygiene habits. People everywhere started paying closer attention to basic sanitation practices—like washing our hands for at least 20 seconds, coughing into our elbows, and wearing face masks in public when sick—to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
But there's still one recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention you've likely been skipping in your new safety measures: the food safety guidelines. The best way to ensure you're killing all viruses and bacteria (not just the novel coronavirus) in the food you're preparing is by cooking it to the proper temperature.
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Coronavirus is not a foodborne pathogen, but there's a lack of research or data on how coronavirus reacts to heat. While coronavirus likely has a low resistance to heat like other viruses, Urvish Patel, MPH, medical advisor for eMediHealth, previously told Health he recommends following standard food preparation guidelines due to the lack of research or data around coronavirus and food.
That means you should aim for internal temperatures of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for meats like beef, pork, veal, or lamb, at least 160°F for ground meats, 165°F for all poultry, leftovers or casseroles, and 145°F for fresh ham and fish when cooking. Seems like a lot to remember, huh?
Luckily, Cuisinart's Temperature Fork ($26; wayfair.com) is about to make it way easier to follow these guidelines. The innovative fork not only displays the real-time temperature of your dish, but can also be programmed for outdoor cooking to alert the chef when meat has reached its desired temperature with an audible flashing alarm.
To buy: Cuisinart Temperature Fork, $26; wayfair.com
Less experienced cooks will also get a kick out of this affordable pick. It allows you to select your ideal cooking level based on your meat type (rare, medium-rare, medium, or well-done) rather than setting a specific temperature. It also features a built-in timer to alert you when it's time to flip your food or take it off the grill. Plus, the metal prongs are removable and dishwasher-safe. How's that for sanitation?
Beyond keeping your food up to CDC guidelines, the thermometer is simply a great kitchen tool, with reviewers calling it easy-to-use and a must-have for home cooks of all levels. One 5-star reviewer even said this handy thermometer is the only reason they can cook poultry.
There are still plenty of additional food safety tips you should follow—like always washing your produce before consumption—but this useful kitchen thermometer is a great place to start. Plus, it's not often you find a tool that makes you a better cook and ensures you're keeping up with the CDC.
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