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USDA lowers recommended temperature for cooked Pork - now 145*

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  1. Glad they finally caught up....They're only what... 10+ years behind?

    1. About damn time.

      Of course, I bet maybe 3 out of 4 Americans are still gonna freak out if you try to serve em pork with a little pink in it. Probably gonna take decades before the knee-jerk 'OMGWTF' response dies off completely.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        I knew it was safe, and I knew I wanted to eat it, yet it still took me a while to get over the ick factor when eating pink pork. This is going to take generations to happen in terms of the general public.

        1. Good to know that I have been ahead of the curve.....lol!

          1 Reply
          1. re: hto44

            I have been slowly getting ahead of the curve.

          2. The flip side of this, just so it doesn't go unnoticed: the guidelines for pork are now the SAME as the guidelines for beef, lamb, and veal.

            So for all of you hounds who like a medium rare steak (heaven forbid rare or worst of all Pittsburgh steak) - the USDA says you're doin' it wrong.

            -- likewise, is cooking pork to 120 no more dangerous than cooking beef rare? I'm not sure. I know that killing trichinosis requires temp of about 138, but is also so rare in American pork as to be a non issue today. But how much of an issue is pork tapeworm (Taenia Solium)? Or other bacterial factors that may be different from beef? I don't really know --

            1. wow....does that mean we might see an end to tough, dry pork chops in restaurants? W00t!

              (sure makes it easier if it's the same temperature for everything!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842

                No, unless double or thick cut chops become the standard. Far too easy for the average cook to screw up the thin ones.

                In a related story, USDA discovers the Remote Read thermometer ....

                1. re: DiveFan

                  I've had the problem of a favorite Italian pork dish made with two, thin chops coming home as takeout dry and overcooked due to steaming in the container after packaging. I now ask for it rare and explain why when I call in the order, and it's perfect every time; pinkish, moist, cooked medium.

              2. I always did 'think pink' when it came to pork. Never had a problem. Now they need to change their " the other white meat" slogan.

                1. The temperatures is actually lower but the USDA is being safe because they appear to assume that the thermometer that people use is inaccurate.

                  "The roundworm Trichinella spiralis is killed at about 140 degrees F (actually at 137 degrees F). Because thermometers can be inaccurate, most experts recommend cooking to 150 degrees F.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    I'm not sure what the temp is for pork tapeworm, which may be a more legitimate concern with pork than trichinosis. The figure I've seen is actually 149 f, but I'm assuming the USDA has seen data that I have not or have accounted for it one way or another with these guidelines.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      This is from the NCBI/NIH.gov.
                      "In the U.S., laws on feeding practices and the inspection of domestic food animals have largely eliminated tapeworms.

                      Avoiding raw meat and cooking meat well enough (to greater than 140 degrees F for 5 minutes) will prevent tapeworm infection. Freezing meats to -4 degrees F for 24 hours also kills tapeworm eggs. Good hygiene and hand washing after using the toilet will prevent self-infection in a person who is already infected with tapeworms."

                  2. I worked in the parasitology department at CDC in the mid to late 60s. Even then we knew that trichinosis was pretty much a thing of the past. It was seen more in "homegrown" pigs. As for tapeworms, they CAN cause problems but usually don't. I did, however, see one (post-purge) that was about 15' long. It sure got MY attention and made me VERY glad that I worked in the more dangerous but largely non-icky blood parasite arena :)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      Couger was to blame for one of the few Washington trichinosis cases in recent years

                      1. re: paulj

                        Cougar? RAW?!

                        I won't even go there on the cougar, but eating any kind of wild game raw is kinda asking for trouble.

                        1. re: paulj

                          I think bear is the other animal responsible for trichinosis infections being reported.

                      2. Because of the public's general lack of knowledge on this point I definitely had the upper hand with my pork dishes among friends. I guess I've lost my competitive advantage now that their pork will undoubtedly be moist and delicious ;)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shrimp13

                          The problem is, if you're too far ahead of the curve, NO ONE will eat the pork - that's what happened to my beautiful, pink, juicy, delicious, brined pork at my last dinner. Oh well - more for me!

                          1. re: Claudette

                            HA! I remember my friend's father going crazy about my tenderloin. I have never tasted pork like this. I think he meant tender and juicy :)

                            More for us indeed!

                        2. Oh good! Now I am finally blessed! (my cooking techniques, that is)