PORK 145°F Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Is well done pork the only safe pork?
No. You can safely cook pork to 145°F, which is medium rare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, followed by a 3 minute rest time, to enjoy pork that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
2. I've heard that pink pork is ok. Is this true?
Absolutely. Pork that is cooked to 145°F will be pink in the center.
3. How can I tell when my pork is cooked?
The best way to determine the perfect doneness for pork is to use a digital cooking thermometer.
4. Why did the USDA change the cooking temperature recommendation?
These new guidelines reflect the ideal preparation for today's lean pork. On average, most common cuts of pork are 16 percent leaner than 18 years ago, and saturated fat has dropped 27 percent. (Based on a 3-ounce cooked serving (roasted or broiled), visible fat trimmed after cooking. Reference: US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, 2006.)
The foodservice industry has cooked pork to 145°F, followed by a 3 minute rest time, for the last 10 years according to Food and Drug Association regulations adopted in 1999.
The 145°F cooking recommendation also brings all whole muscle red meats to the same level for endpoint cooking temperature. In other words, 145°F is the new standard for doneness for all pork and beef steaks, chops and roasts.
5. Isn't it dangerous to undercook pork?
Customer concern about 'undercooked' pork was tied to Trichinosis, a disease caused by a parasite. Trichinosis is no longer common in the U.S., mostly due to changes in the way pigs have been fed over the least 30 years. The Trichinosis parasite is destroyed at 137°F, below the recommended 145°F internal cooking temperature.
6. Can you cook ground pork products to 145°F?
No. Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160°F.
Why? Bacterium in meats is found predominantly on the meat's surface. Ground meats have large surface areas compared to whole muscle cuts, and they have been handled more often.
Your Guide to PERFECTLY COOKED PORK
Saute - Add a little cooking oil to pan; saute over medium-high heat adn turn once halfway through cooking time.
Grill/Broil - Grill over direct, medium heat; turn once halfway through grilling OR broil 4-5 inches from heat.
Roast - Roast, uncovered, in a shallow pan at 350°F unless otherwise noted.
Braise - Cook, covered, with liquid at a simmer; turn once halfway through cooking time.
Stew - Cook, covered, with liquid at a slow simmer.
Barbeque (BBQ) - Grill over indirect medium heat (285°F).