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Food Safety Issues/Validation Reference for Listeria spp. Kill (Cooking)


Dear Carol:
You gave the following answer to one of the questions that was asked:

"Hi Jessica,

The cooking temperature to kill Listeria is 158F. This why it is recommended for people who are vulnerable to listeriosis (young children, pregnant women, etc) to heat deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs and poultry to at least 165 degrees F before consuming. All live listeria bacteria would be killed and would not regrow.

If the food is introduced to listeria after cooking it is possible for it to grow while in refrigeration.  It would require direct contact from an item with listeria present (like a hot dog handling with bare hands and then the same hand handling the cooked food).

As long as you keep cooked foods separated from uncooked foods and heat all deli meats, hot dogs, etc to at least 165 degrees F, you should not have any problems with this organism."

Could you please provide me with the validation reference (i.e., journal article / FSIS web reference, etc.) that states to cook meats/poultry to 165oF? I really need this reference to support my HACCP Program CCP.

Thank you kindly,

Hi Tina,

The 2013 FDA Food Code: 3-401.11 Cooking of Raw Animal Foods (c) states

"74oC (165oF)or above for 15 seconds for POULTRY, BALUTS, wild GAME ANIMALS as specified under Subparagraphs 3-201.17(A)(3) and (4), stuffed FISH, stuffed MEAT, stuffed pasta, stuffed POULTRY, stuffed RATITES, or stuffing containing FISH, MEAT, POULTRY, or RATITES."

Meats (pork, beef, lamb) have a variety of temperatures for cooking (see 3-401.11 (a) and (b). For example, you can cook meat to 54.4 degrees C (130 degrees F) if you hold it 112 minutes before serving. Or you can cook meat to 62.8 degrees C (145 degrees F) if you hold it 4 minutes.  Or you can cook meat to 70 degrees C (158 degrees F) and serve it immediately without any holding time.

All leftovers must be reheated to 165 degrees F (see 3-403.11)

You can download the 2013 FDA Food Code at

Hope this is what you need for your HACCP plan.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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