| Careful management
of temperatures is an important way to control bacteria. You should
always use a food thermometer to check temperatures.
Temperatures for Safety and Quality
- Turkey must be kept frozen (0ºF or lower) or refrigerated
(35º to 40ºF) until used. Keep raw as well as cooked
turkey products out of the 40º to 140ºF bacterial growth
- Never let raw or cooked turkey stand at room temperature or
in a warm oven at less than 200ºF or in a holding device
at less than 140ºF.
- Cook raw turkey to an internal temperature of 165 ºF to
170ºF in the deepest part of the breast, or 165 ºF to
180ºF in the thigh of a whole bird. Insert the food thermometer
into the deepest part of the muscle, being sure not to touch the
- Turkey products that are purchased fully cooked and are served
hot, such as boneless roasts and rolls, should be reheated to
an internal temperature of 140ºF.
- Turkey that is cooked and chilled in your operation must be
reheated to an internal temperature of 165ºF before serving
or kept cold at 35º to 40ºF if it is to be served cold.
- Cook turkey progressively, in batches, so it can be served as
soon as possible.
- Slice and hold only the amount that will be served within a
20-to 30-minute period.
The following chart shows Recommended End-Point Internal Temperatures from the
National Turkey Federation and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code.
The FDA recommendations are for safety-temperatures at a sufficient level to
kill bacteria that may be present. Our own recommended temperatures are somewhat
higher in many cases. We have chosen these temperatures because we believe they
will enable you to achieve optimum quality. In addition, turkey will be easier
to carve or slice when heated/cooked to these temperatures.
End-Point Internal Temperatures
|| National Turkey Federation
|| FDA Food Code
| Whole Body Turkey
(Thermometer in Thigh)
| Breast, Wings
| Roasts, Raw
| Cutlets, Slices, Tenderloins
| Ground Turkey
| Reheating Turkey Cooked by Supplier
(Ham, Roasts, Rolls) 1
| Reheating Turkey Cooked by Foodservice
| 1-Turkey that is purchased
in the fully cooked state; this temperature is for the reheated turkey.
2-Uncooked turkey that is cooked and cooled in the foodservice operation;
this temperature is for the reheated turkey.
See the Preparation chapter for more details on
recommended cooking procedures for achieving the ideal end-point temperature.
Also check your local and state regulations for more information. For example,
some states have specific requirements for serving temperatures.
In addition to reaching the recommended internal temperature, there is a
second check for doneness. Juices should be clear and no longer pink. The absence
of a pink color signals a change in the turkey's chemistry; this change occurs
at a temperature high enough to kill any bacteria that may be present.