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Using a Thermometer Consumer Food Safety

A probe thermometer is used to take food temperatures and can either be a dial or digital thermometer. Both are reliable; however, digital thermometers can take temperatures of thin food while dial thermometers may have to be immersed up to two inches into the food to take a proper temperature.

When taking food temperatures, the probe should be placed into the thickest portion of the food. This placement is especially important for a whole turkey or large roast. Stir soups and sauces thoroughly before taking a temperature. Digital thermometers should be used when taking temperatures of thin food, like hamburgers or chicken breasts.

How do you know if a thermometer is accurate?

The answer is to check it in ice water. Water freezes at 32°F.; therefore, a glass of ice water will be very close to 32°F. By setting the thermometer in the ice water for a few minutes, you can find out if the thermometer is accurate if it correctly reads 32°F.

What if my thermometer is not accurate?

If it is a dial thermometer you can calibrate it. At the back portion of the dial, there should be a hex or square shaped nut. While the thermometer is still in the ice water, use a wrench to hold the nut secure and twist the dial portion until the temperature indicator is on 32°F.