Sausage Temperature

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It is extremely important to maintain proper refrigeration (40°F or lower) on your raw materials and product throughout processing, and on the finished product. Prolonged temperature abuse during manufacture can permit growth of undesirable microorganisms, leading to product spoilage or food-bourne illness.

During heating of cooked sausages, temperature of the product should pass rapidly through the temperature zone of 60-130°F which favors rapid bacteria growth. Most cooked sausages are heated to a final internal temperature of around 160°F. There are some alternative holding time and internal product temperature combinations which will also insure an adequate kill of disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria. These include:

Product internal temperature Minimum holding time at internal temperature
145°F 10 minutes
150°F 3 minutes
155°F 1 minute

If product is being cooked in water, the water temperature should be in the range of 160-180°F. If being heated in a smokehouse or grill, an air temperature of 160 to 200°F is desirable. When cooked by dry heat, pans of water can be placed near the product to provide some humidity to reduce drying of the sausage.

Products should be adequately cooled after cooking. While adequate cooking will destroy all vegetative cells of disease-causing bacteria, several pathogens can form spores which will survive normal cooking procedures. If sausages are cooled too slowly, the spores may revert to the vegetative form and begin to grow. Commercial processors meet the following internal temperature cooling guidelines:

Uncured products (no nitrite):
- from 130°F to 80°F in less than 1.5 hours
- from 80°F to 40°F in less than 5 hours

Cured products (nitrite present):
- from 130°F to 80°F in less than 5 hours
- from 80°F to 45°F in less than 10 hours

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