Fewer than One in Four Americans Regularly Use
Food Thermometer to Ensure Food is
Thoroughly Cooked

For Release November 8, 2011

New survey from American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety Program

Only 23 percent of Americans report regularly using a food thermometer to check the doneness of meats, according to a Consumer Knowledge of Home Food Safety Practices survey by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety program.

“One in six Americans gets sick from food poisoning each year. However, easy steps such as using a food thermometer to ensure holiday turkey and other foods are cooked to the safe internal temperature can help protect your family and dinner guests from possible foodborne illness,” says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Ximena Jimenez.

“Contrary to common belief, food that may contain harmful bacteria cannot be easily identified visually or even by taste or smell, so the best way to avoid food poisoning is through prevention,” Jimenez says. “Using a food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure foods are thoroughly cooked and eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present, but unfortunately less than a quarter of Americans regularly use a food thermometer, and many aren’t certain of the correct cooking temperatures.”

A guide on how to use a food thermometer as well as a listing of safe minimum internal temperatures of foods may be found at www.homefoodsafety.org, along with other easy steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

“Following safe food handling procedures is extremely important, especially for those who can be at far greater risk of developing serious illness from food poisoning, such as pregnant women, very young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses,” Jimenez says.

“Whether you’re preparing a holiday ham, turkey or goose, or everyday foods such as hamburgers or chicken breasts, use a food thermometer to ensure you’re cooking to proper temperatures,” says Joan Menke-Schaenzer, chief global quality officer at ConAgra Foods. “On top of keeping us healthy, a food thermometer can also be a helpful guide when determining when food is done. No more overcooked holiday turkeys!”

A Quick Guide to Thawing and Cooking the Perfect Turkey and other resources for reducing foodborne illness are also available at www.homefoodsafety.org.

HealthFocus International conducted the Consumer Knowledge of Home Safety Practices survey in April 2011 through an online survey of a random sample of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 20 and 75 who are the primary household shopper and responsible for preparing the main meal for the household three or more days a week. The sample was chosen to closely match U.S. population demographics. The survey was originally conducted in 1999 with follow-up waves in 2002 and 2011.

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.

The American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of foodborne illness and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in their own kitchens. More information can be found at www.homefoodsafety.org.

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