Cooking is the thermal heating of foods at sufficient temperature over time to kill microorganisms in the food.
The following are the requirements for the different foods:
Beef, Fish, Seafood, and Eggs: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit
Pork: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit
Poultry, Food Containing Poultry, Stuffed Meats or Stuffing Containing Meat, Casseroles, or Food Containing Potentially Hazardous Foods: 165 Degrees Fahrenheit
Rare Roast Beef: 130 Degrees Fahrenheit
Restructured Meat, Ground or Fabricated Meat: 155 Degrees Fahrenheit
Cooking requirements are based on the biology of pathogens. Different species of microorganisms have different susceptibilities to heat.
Lethality of Heat
Food characteristics also contribute to the lethality of cooking temperatures. Heat penetrates different foods at different rates. High fat content reduces the lethality of heat. High humidity in the cooking container or the moisture content of the food aid the lethality of heat.
To effectively eliminate pathogens, there are a number of factors to consider: the level of pathogens in the raw product, the initial temperature of the food and the bulk of the food. Another factor to consider, to kill the pathogenic organisms in food, cooking must heat all parts of the food to the required temperatures.