The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently advised consumers that cooking raw poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees will eliminate pathogens and viruses. Past food safety guidelines recommended higher temperatures for some poultry products.
Scientific research indicates that foodborne pathogens and viruses, such as salmonella, campylobacter and the avian influenza virus, are destroyed when poultry is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. It’s important to use a food thermometer to check internal temperature.
In addition, LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames says consumers should follow important tips for handling raw poultry. She says these tips can be summarized in three words –clean, separate and chill. Clean means to wash hands and surfaces often; separate means to keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods; chill means to refrigerate or freeze foods promptly.

The single minimum internal temperature requirement of 165 degrees was recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). FSIS will use the NACMCF recommendation to further guide consumers in the preparation of poultry products to ensure microbiological safety. Although the NACMCF has established 165 degrees as the minimum temperature at which bacteria and viruses will be destroyed, consumers, for reasons of personal preference, may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.