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Cooking Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Safety

This information, as well as over 100 recipes is available in our book Beginning Sous Vide which you can get at Amazon.com or as a pdf download.

This information is updated at our new safety page: Sous Vide Safety with Salmonella and Bacteria

One of the big concerns over sous vide is how safe it actually is to cook foods at lower temperatures. Many people seem to think that it is unsafe to consume foods that have not been cooked at high temperatures. There are different concerns for restaurants and home cooks, and between food that will be served right away and food that will be held in in the refrigerator or freezer for a long period of time.

We will be focusing on the safety of food cooked at home and to be served right after the cooking is completed.

One of the common misconceptions about cooking temperatures needed to kill bugs is that the temperature is the only important part of the equation. The thing many people miss is that the time the food is at the temperature is just as important.

Federal guidelines suggest the following temperature and time combinations, applicable to sous vide as well, to kill salmonella and E. Coli bacteria in food.
130F for 86.42 minutes
135F for 27.33 minutes
140F for 8.64 minutes
145F for 2.73 minutes
150F for 51.85 seconds
160F for 5.19 seconds
165F for 1.64 seconds

Using traditional cooking techniques it was very hard to heat up the very inside of food to a high enough level to kill the bacteria without overcooking it, and overcooking the outer layers even worse. Sous vide allows you to cook chicken breasts to a perfect 160 degrees for 5 seconds or beef at 130F for 86 minutes and kill all the bacteria without overcooking them
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