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Is Pink Turkey Meat Safe?

  • Published: 2013-08-22
  • File Format: PDF
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  • Size: 157.55K
  • Language: English
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The color pink in cooked turkey meat raises a “red flag” to many diners and cooks. Conditioned to be wary of cooked fresh pork that looks pink, they question the safety of cooked poultry and other meats that have a rosy blush.

Numerous callers to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline report being alarmed when seeing “pink.” To them, it means “unsafe” or “under-done.”
“I cooked my turkey until done according to the directions, but when I sliced the breast meat, it was still pink near the bone,” said an Oklahoma caller. “Is it safe?”

“We had a big family argument at Thanksgiving dinner. Aunt Mildred wouldn’t eat the turkey because it looked pink,” reported the beleaguered cook from a Wisconsin family.

The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.

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