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How to disinfect a food temperature probe

Updated November 21, 2016

A food temperature probe is an important cooking tool that allows the chef to determine the internal temperature of meats and other foods. A food temperature probe is the only effective way to avoid undercooked meats -- which remain cooler at the centre -- and related food-borne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli. Unfortunately, the act of placing the probe into uncooked meats leads to contamination. To avoid food-borne illnesses like salmonella, always disinfect the food probe after each use.

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  1. Hand wash the probe with antibacterial soap before every use.

  2. Bring the probe directly to the sink after every probing; avoid contact with counter tops, dishes and cutlery to avoid cross-contamination. The food probe is contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria if it's been in contact with undercooked meat; you may contaminate cooked meat if you fail to wash it between probings.

  3. Wash the probe immediately with antibacterial soap and scrub the wand -- the part that was inserted into the food -- for one full minute using your hands. Avoid sponges, because the sponge may become contaminated. Pay special attention to any indentations or creases along the wand. For digital thermometers, avoid washing the digital display unless it's waterproof.

  4. Clean any unwashable portions of the probe -- such as a digital display -- using an antibacterial wipe.

  5. Dry the probe with a paper towel.

  6. Tip

    Disposable sleeves are available for some food-probe models. The sleeve slips over the probe, preventing contamination. The sleeves must be discarded after every use. You should still wash the probe after its final use for the day.

    Buy special antibacterial wipes designed specifically for food probes.


    Always wash your hands after handling raw, uncooked meat.

    You must wash and/or disinfect anything that comes in contact with raw meat to avoid illness. This includes plates, counter tops and your hands.

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Things You'll Need

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Paper towels

About the Author

Mia Carter
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