Is it safe to eat chicken at 145? (Best way to do it)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is it safe to eat chicken at 145?” We will discuss all the aspects related to the cooking of chicken at 145, including the best technique to do it.
Is it safe to eat chicken at 145?
Yes, chicken can be safe at 145. While chicken can be considered safe at a temperature of 145°F (62.8°C), its safety depends on the preparation method. In my experience, when it comes to cooking chicken, both time and temperature are crucial factors.
Although chicken can technically be cooked at 145 °F, it is generally not recommended. This caution is based on the need for a significant reduction in Salmonella spp. bacteria. To make sure chicken is safe to eat a 7.0 log10 reduction in the bacterial count must be achieved. (1)
What is a 7.0 log10 reduction?
A 7.0 log10 reduction signifies a tenfold reduction in harmful pathogens. If this essential reduction of 7.0 log10 is achieved, the chicken is considered safe for consumption.
However, if the poultry does not reach this 7.0 log10 reduction, it is considered undercooked. In such cases, it is advisable to continue cooking the chicken for an extended period to achieve the necessary log10 reduction or to raise the internal temperature to 165°F (74°C) for safety. (1)
How to achieve a proper bacterial reduction?
To attain a 7.0 log10 reduction, it is necessary to prolong the cooking time. When fats are present, some microorganisms tend to exhibit heightened heat resistance. This phenomenon is occasionally termed “fat protection,” and it is believed to bolster heat resistance by influencing the moisture content within the cells.
To provide an example, chicken with 1% fat content necessitates a minimum cooking time of 8.4 minutes at an internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8°C), while chicken with a 12% fat content requires at least 13 minutes of cooking to achieve the same level of safety. (2)
How can you cook a chicken at 145?
In my perspective as a food scientist, the sous vide method is the ideal approach to achieve the desired culinary outcome. Sous vide, a cooking technique, entails the preparation of raw ingredients in vacuum-sealed, heat-resistant pouches or containers, with meticulous control over both temperature and duration, followed by rapid cooling.
This culinary method falls under the category of low-temperature, extended cooking and has been a fixture in restaurant kitchens since the 1970s, gaining significant popularity since the early 2000s. Sous vide primarily employs lower temperatures, typically remaining below 70°C throughout the cooking process.
These lower temperatures are safe for use as long as they are accompanied by sufficiently extended cooking times to effectively eliminate harmful pathogens.
The necessary cooking durations can vary widely, ranging from just a few minutes to several days, depending on the specific temperature chosen. Ensuring precise alignment of time and temperature is critical for safety considerations. (1)
Consuming undercooked chicken presents a significant health hazard. When chicken is not heated to a temperature that effectively eliminates harmful foodborne pathogens, it elevates the risk of foodborne illnesses.
While methods such as frying often raise the external temperature of the chicken sufficiently to kill surface bacteria, insufficient cooking can permit certain internal bacterial pathogens to survive. This poses a potential health threat if the partially cooked chicken is consumed. The concern of incomplete cooking primarily relates to bacterial pathogens within the chicken itself.
In contrast, the risk of cross-contamination primarily pertains to bacteria found on the surface of poultry meat or eggshells. This risk extends to other food items, either directly or indirectly, as these bacteria can be transferred during the process of food preparation and handling. (3, 4)
Can undercooked chicken lead to food poisoning?
Yes, consuming chicken contaminated with harmful pathogens can result in food poisoning. In cases of Salmonella infection, most individuals exhibit symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. In instances of Campylobacter infection, people often experience diarrhea, occasionally with blood, along with fever and stomach cramps.
Nausea and vomiting may also accompany the onset of diarrhea. Typically, these symptoms manifest within two to five days after infection and persist for about a week. They become noticeable within a range of six hours to six days after infection and endure for a period of four to seven days.
Both Campylobacter and Salmonella are common bacteria frequently found in contaminated chicken, collectively accounting for a significant portion of bacterial contamination in poultry. (5-7)
How to make sure chicken is safe?
Ensuring safe consumption of raw chicken requires cooking it to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (73.9°C) or higher, and maintaining this temperature for at least 15 seconds. It is highly advisable to consistently employ a food thermometer throughout the cooking process to confirm the achievement of this crucial temperature.
Using a food thermometer enables you to precisely confirm that the chicken has uniformly reached the recommended minimum internal temperature of 165°F. This proactive approach substantially diminishes the likelihood of foodborne illness and guarantees the safety of the chicken. (3)
In this brief guide, we have answered the question “Is it safe to eat chicken at 145?” We have discussed all the aspects related to the cooking of chicken at 145, including the best technique to do it.
Studying this topic I was able to conclude that cooking chicken at 145 °F is safe as long as you have the proper ways to do it. Consuming undercooked chicken carries a high risk of causing foodborne illness. In my perspective as a food scientist, when preparing chicken at home it is safer to cook it until it reaches the appropriate temperature of 165°F.
Was this helpful?
PLAIN, Sara et al. Examining the safety of duck breast prepared the sous vide method. BCIT Environmental Public Health Journal, 2016.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. FSIS Cooking Guideline for Meat and Poultry Products (Revised Appendix A). 2021.
BROWN, Laura Green et al. Frequency of inadequate chicken cross-contamination prevention and cooking practices in restaurants. Journal of food protection, v. 76, n. 12, p. 2041-2045, 2013.
LUBER, Petra. Cross-contamination versus undercooking of poultry meat or eggs—which risks need to be managed first?. International journal of food microbiology, v. 134, n. 1-2, p. 21-28, 2009.