Check Your Food Thermometer
Have you ever thought of taking your thermometer's temperature? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the ConAgra Foundation recommend giving your digital and non-digital food thermometer a regular check-up.
There are two simple methods to check the accuracy of a food thermometer. However, not all thermometers can be calibrated - so make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions. Thermometers that can be calibrated usually contain a nut under the dial that can be adjusted with small pliers or a wrench.
Boiling Water Method
Materials needed: one deep pot and water
In a deep pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Dip the thermometer stem two inches into the boiling water without touching the bottom. Wait for 30 seconds and the thermometer should read 212º F.
For non-digital thermometers: If the temperature does not read 32° F using the ice water method and 212 °F for the boiling water method, adjust the temperature by turning the calibration nut just under the head of the thermometer until the pointer reads the correct temperature or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
For digital thermometers: Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some thermometers cannot be calibrated.
In high-altitude areas, water boils at a lower temperature, so check with your local Cooperative Extension Service or Health Department for the exact temperature of boiling water in your area.
To learn more about food thermometers and how to care for them, visit the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site.
For a detailed chart on meats/poultry and their internal temperatures, click here.