Meat Heat Treatment, Safe Temperatures & Bacterial Resistance

Heat treatment is just one way of preserving meat. The rest are as follows:

  • Low temperature: Cooling, freezing
  • High temperature: Heat treatment
  • Acidity, pH: Acidification
  • Competitive flora: Fermentation — for non-heat-treated products
  • Redox potential: Decrease oxygen — vacuum, ascorbate
  • Preservatives: Sorbate, nitrite etc.
  • Water activity, aw: Drying, salt, sugar, fat

There are two types of heat treatment:

  • Heat treatment at temperatures below 100°C, mostly in the temperature range of 60 to 85°C, also called pasteurization or simply cooking.
  • Heat treatment at temperatures of above 100°C, also called sterilization.

Recommended minimum safe internal temperatures. Higher temperatures may affect flavors and nutrients.

Poultry, dark meat = 80°C
Poultry, light meat = 71°C
Ground poultry = 74-80°C
Ground beef and all types of pork = 71°C
Beef/veal/lamb steaks and chops medium-rare = 63°C

Killing time and temperature experiments for most bacteria:

heat resitance of bacteria


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