Food safety experts agree that foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
1. Use a meat thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat and poultry, to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through.
2. Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145 degrees F. Whole poultry should be cooked to 180 degrees F. for doneness.
3. Cook ground meat, where bacteria can spread during grinding, to at least 160 degrees F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked, pink ground beef with a higher risk of illness. If a thermometer is not available, do not eat ground beef that is still pink inside.
4. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Don't use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
5. Cook fish until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
6. Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
7. Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F.