The Meat Thermometer Mistake That Could Get You Sick

While cooking and baking can be loads of delicious fun, we all know it can come with plenty of hazards. Knives can destroy fingers and cause plenty of emergency room visits. Ovens and stovetops singe hair and skin or cause property damage fairly often. Unsanitized dishes and utensils have led to cross-contamination and food poisoning. The kitchen, though it may feel warm and toasty, may not be the safest place to be in the house. One hazard in particular people try to avoid is serving undercooked food and making themselves and everyone around them sick. 

According to AARP Home & Family, a meat thermometer is an especially important tool to keep yourself safe. Its job is to take the internal temperature of the meat product to ensure that the food reaches a safe degree, so harmful bacteria are killed. A bonus aspect of the meat thermometer is that you can also use it to keep meat from overcooking as well. Ultimately, it's a good investment to make, and it should absolutely be a part of your kitchen repertoire. However, if you're not careful, this handy tool could make you sick instead of saving you from becoming ill.

Sanitize, Sanitize, SANITIZE

So, what's the deal? How can a meat thermometer make you sick? Yahoo says that one of the ways people unintentionally make themselves sick is by first testing the temperature of raw meat. Now, logically, you would think that you don't need to test uncooked meat for temperature, and you'd be correct; however, you'd be shocked to discover that people do it quite often. They just don't know they are. Oftentimes, the meat is still a bit raw when cooks first stick the thermometer into the food to test it. This act then transfers any and all bacteria on that raw meat onto the thermometer, which often goes uncleaned between that first prod and the next test!

According to the Family Handyman, you absolutely must clean your meat thermometer between tests, or salmonella and other harmful stuff can be put back into the meat alive and well after it's done cooking. So, to clean your thermometer, you must wash it thoroughly with hot water and soap. It's as simple as that to keep yourself and those you love safe! You can also use an alcohol swab if you don't have access to a water source. It is always better to be safe than sorry in these sorts of situations, so always remember to sanitize the thermometer when you're finished as well.