Health Tip: Choosing a Food Thermometer

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Food thermometers are essential tools to help you cook food to the proper temperature, reducing your risk of foodborne illness.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers information about the different types of food thermometers:

  • An oven-safe dial thermometer gives a reading within a minute or two when inserted about two inches into food. It's inserted at the start of cooking, and is best for deep casseroles or thicker meats, rather than thin dishes.
  • An instant-read digital thermometer gives a reading in about 10 seconds, but isn't designed to be used while foods are cooking.
  • An instant-read dial thermometer gives a reading within 20 seconds and is most appropriate for deep dishes. It isn't meant to be used during the entire cooking cycle.
  • A pop-up internal thermometer often is inserted by the poultry producer, popping up when the food reaches the appropriate temperature.
  • A fork/thermometer combination tool is useful for grilling. It should be inserted at least 1/4-inch into meat, and will give a reading in less than 10 seconds.

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