A chef doesn't just eye your steak to make sure it's done. That's because the texture and color of your entrée isn't enough to tell if it's been cooked properly on the inside—and that mistake could make you seriously sick. Take a lesson from the pros and put your food thermometer to work instead. Monitor your food to make sure it reaches the minimum recommended internal temperature: ground meat to 160 degrees; fresh beef to 140 degrees; fresh pork to 145 degrees; and poultry to 165 degrees. Finned fish are safe to eat at 145 degrees, and other types of seafood should be cooked until the flesh is firm and opaque. And when you're done, dig in right away! The reason a waiter whisks plates straight to the table—aside from being eager for a good tip—is that illness-causing bacteria multiply quickest in the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.