Food Safety, Preparation and Storage Tips
Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the University of Arizona

Safe Cooking of Poultry


The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) was asked by the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop recommendations for consumers for the safe cooking of poultry products. This request was in response to food-borne illness outbreaks caused by Salmonella in poultry products that appeared to be ready-to-eat, but were not. The purpose of the NACMCF, which consists of government, industry, and academic food safety experts, is to provide impartial, scientific advice to federal food safety agencies for use in the development of an integrated national food safety systems approach from farm to final consumption to assure the safety of domestic, imported, and exported foods.


  • A single minimum internal product endpoint temperature of 165 F (74 C) for cooking, without a time requirement, is recommended to the consumer to ensure the microbiological safety of cooked poultry.

  • This temperature exceeds the 158 F (70 C) that is recommended to eliminate the avian influenza H5N1 virus.

  • Higher final temperatures may be desired for consumer acceptability and palatability [e.g., 170 F (77 C) for whole muscle breast meat, 180 F (82 C) for whole muscle thigh meat in order to remove the pink appearance and rubbery texture].

  • The cooking time to reach the desired internal product temperature will vary according to the product: type [size, shape, physical state (frozen vs. unfrozen), amount of preprocessing], composition [amount of fat] and cooking method [baking, broiling, frying, microwaving, etc.].

  • Consumers should remember to handle raw poultry in a sanitary manner to prevent cross contamination.


Meer, R. and S. Misner. 2006. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Department of Nutritional Sciences.
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