Can you cook chicken at 140 degrees? (Best way to cook it)
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you cook chicken at 140 degrees?” We will discuss all the aspects related to the cooking of chicken at 140 degrees F including the method to cook chicken at 140 and the best techniques. In the end, we will also discuss methods to make chicken bacteria-free.
Can you cook chicken at 140 degrees?
Yes, chicken can be prepared at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60°C), but it’s generally not recommended. The reason for this caution is the requirement for a 7.0 log10 reduction in Salmonella spp. to ensure the safety of poultry. A log10 reduction signifies a pathogen reduction “by a factor of ten.”
If the necessary 7.0 log10 reductions are attained, the food is considered safe for consumption. However, if the poultry does not achieve these 7.0 log10 reductions, it is deemed undercooked and must undergo extended processing to achieve the appropriate log10 reductions or be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F (74°C). (1)
To attain a 7.0 log10 reduction, extended cooking durations become necessary. In the presence of fats, certain microorganisms tend to exhibit greater heat resistance. This phenomenon is occasionally termed “fat protection” and is believed to bolster heat resistance by influencing cellular moisture levels.
Specifically, chicken containing 1% fat demands a minimum cooking time of 25.2 minutes at an internal temperature of 140 degrees (60°C), whereas chicken with a 12% fat content necessitates at least 35 minutes of cooking. (2)
What is the best technique to cook chicken at 140 degrees?
The sous vide technique typically stands out as the optimal approach for achieving this outcome. Sous vide is defined as the practice of cooking raw ingredients within vacuum-sealed, heat-resistant pouches or containers, precisely controlling both temperature and duration and then promptly cooling them.
This culinary method falls into the category of low-temperature, extended cooking, and it has been in use in restaurants since the 1970s, gaining significant popularity since the early 2000s. Sous vide primarily employs lower temperatures, typically below 70°C, for cooking.
These lower temperatures can be safely employed as long as they are accompanied by sufficiently extended cooking durations to effectively eliminate harmful pathogens.
The required cooking times can vary widely, ranging from mere minutes to several days, contingent on the specific temperature used. Ensuring the correct pairing of time and temperature is vital for safety purposes. (1)
Consuming chicken that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked presents a significant health hazard. When chicken isn’t heated to a temperature that can effectively eliminate harmful foodborne pathogens, it heightens the chances of contracting foodborne illnesses.
While cooking methods like frying typically elevate the external temperature of the chicken to levels that can eradicate surface bacteria, inadequate cooking may permit certain internal bacterial pathogens to persist, potentially posing health threats if the partially cooked chicken is consumed.
Incomplete cooking primarily pertains to bacterial pathogens residing within the chicken itself. Conversely, the risk of cross-contamination predominantly involves bacteria present 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)
What are the most common foodborne pathogens in chicken?
Poultry meat frequently harbors a range of pathogens, with Campylobacter and Salmonella emerging as the primary offenders. These two pathogens, which pose health risks to humans, can often be found in significant numbers within the digestive systems of birds.
Nonetheless, it remains crucial to detect their presence, even when they exist in minimal quantities, after the contamination of poultry meat. (5)
What is the adequate way to prepare chicken?
To ensure safe consumption, it is vital to cook raw chicken until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (73.9°C) or higher, maintaining this temperature for at least 15 seconds. Consistently using a food thermometer throughout the cooking process is highly advisable to confirm the achievement of this crucial temperature.
By employing a food thermometer, you can 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)
What happens if you eat contaminated chicken?
Consuming chicken contaminated with harmful pathogens can result in foodborne illnesses and food poisoning. In cases of Salmonella infection, most individuals tend to develop symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
In the event of a Campylobacter infection, people often experience diarrhea, which may occasionally contain blood, accompanied by fever, stomach cramps, and sometimes nausea and vomiting.
Typically, these symptoms emerge within a timeframe of two to five days following infection and typically endure for about one week. They tend to become noticeable within a range spanning from six hours to six days after infection and persist for a period of four to seven days.
Both Campylobacter and Salmonella are prevalent bacteria commonly found in contaminated chicken, collectively contributing to a significant portion of bacterial contamination in poultry. (5-7)
In this brief guide, we have answered the question “Can you cook chicken at 140 degrees?”. We have discussed all the aspects related to the cooking of chicken at 140 degrees F including the method to cook chicken at 140 and the best techniques. In the end, we have also discussed the methods to make chicken bacteria-free.
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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.
ROUGER, Amélie; TRESSE, Odile; ZAGOREC, Monique. Bacterial contaminants of poultry meat: sources, species, and dynamics. Microorganisms, v. 5, n. 3, p. 50, 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Campylobacter (Campylobacteriosis). 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Salmonella. 2023.