HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

USDA lowers recommended temperature for cooked Pork - now 145*

Dennis S May 24, 2011 10:11 AM


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Uncle Bob RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 10:20 AM

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

    1. cowboyardee RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 10:26 AM

      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
        jgg13 RE: cowboyardee May 24, 2011 02:23 PM

        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.

      2. d
        darrentran87 RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 11:19 AM

        Finally lol...

        1. h
          hto44 RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 11:56 AM

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: hto44
            Dennis S RE: hto44 May 28, 2011 11:58 AM

            I have been slowly getting ahead of the curve.

          2. cowboyardee RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 12:34 PM

            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. sunshine842 RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 12:56 PM

              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
                DiveFan RE: sunshine842 May 24, 2011 01:41 PM

                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
                  mcf RE: DiveFan May 28, 2011 12:51 PM

                  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. mucho gordo RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 01:25 PM

                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. k
                  Kelli2006 RE: Dennis S May 24, 2011 01:50 PM

                  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
                    cowboyardee RE: Kelli2006 May 24, 2011 02:12 PM

                    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
                      Kelli2006 RE: cowboyardee May 24, 2011 02:41 PM

                      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."

                      1. re: Kelli2006
                        sunshine842 RE: Kelli2006 May 24, 2011 10:45 PM

                        Gah. That last sentence. (shudder)

                  2. c oliver RE: Dennis S May 25, 2011 08:25 AM

                    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
                      paulj RE: c oliver May 25, 2011 08:54 AM

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

                      1. re: paulj
                        sunshine842 RE: paulj May 25, 2011 10:56 AM

                        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
                          scubadoo97 RE: paulj May 28, 2011 02:33 PM

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

                      2. shrimp13 RE: Dennis S May 25, 2011 12:47 PM

                        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
                          Claudette RE: shrimp13 May 30, 2011 05:37 PM

                          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
                            shrimp13 RE: Claudette Jun 2, 2011 03:38 PM

                            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. a
                          audreyhtx1 RE: Dennis S May 28, 2011 12:47 PM

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

                          Show Hidden Posts