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Pink pork tenderloin safe to eat?

I cooked it to 165 degrees; it looked rare.

My coworker says I'm going to die, and that pork should not be pink.


(The picture below is after I nuked it at lunch. It was more pink this morning when I cooked it)


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  1. It's more than fully cooked but I'd worry more about the taste/texture after it's been cooked to 165 and then microwaved.

    1. Your co-worker is a twit.

      The current recommendation for pork is an internal temp of 145. 165, as mentioned by chowser, is WAY overcooked. Why it 'looked' rare, I don't know but it wasn't.

      19 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        If you don't think it should look rare/pink if my ready temp thermometer says 165, then maybe I should buy another thermometer to make sure I'm getting an accurate reading.

        Now I'm concerned!


        1. re: mike2401

          You should settle down. I eat medium rare pork all the time and I'm not dead.

          In the old days there was a deadly organism called Trichinosis that was found in undercooked pork. Modern food handling standards have so reduced that organism to lessthan 10 cases a year, mostly from wild game.

          In other words, eat your pork how you like and dont sweat it.

          1. re: JonParker

            I don't like to sweat my pork. I prefer it roasted or grilled. Har Har!

            1. re: JonParker

              I too used to think that pork had to cooked to well done, because of 2 biology classes that taught that we could catch trichinosis by eating undercooked pork. But pork is raised differently that it was, and anyway, most of it isn't raised in the deep South anyway.

              I enjoy my pork a lot more now that I eat it slightly pink, I have to say. And especially since it is so much leaner than it used to be.

              1. re: sueatmo

                There is no connection between pork raised in the deep South and trichinosis.

            2. re: mike2401

              You are fine. Some pork remains pink even when fully cooked. Here are links to a news report and also a test of the new lower-temperature (145 degree) guideline



            3. re: c oliver

              Second on the 145. Trichinosis is killed at 140 but if your thermometer is a tiny bit off, 145 is listed to be safe.

              Btw, I found out last week that the colour of the meat depends on the breed. This info was from a pig farmer.

              1. re: jammy

                Yep and yep. And trichinosis in grocery store meat is largely extinct.

                Your thermometer might stop working but it's not going to be off by 25 degrees.

                1. re: jammy

                  I've read that trichinosis is killed at 137°. I try to get it close to 145. I have a brother who is great at BBQ of all kinds (mostly pulled pork and beef brisket) but he is terrible at pork loin. I had some overcooked last weekend. His wife would cook whole pork loins to 170 minimum, until it's practically inedible. My brother cuts them to 1" chops and also overcooks them, but not as bad as his wife. I have never said anything because I am a guest in their home. If I was ever asked, I'd suggest an instant meat thermometer and pull it by 130° to 135°.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Trichinosis can be killed below 137, but it takes extended periods as the temperature gets lower.

                    It is killed instantly at 144...that is why it's recommended to cook pork to 145.

                    Cooking it a few degrees cooler is fine so long as you hold it at that temperature for a few minutes.

                    Few, if any, trichinosis cases are related to factory raised pork. Most cases come from wild game...bear being one of the worst offenders.

                    1. re: JayL

                      "Few if any cases are related to factory raised pork. Most cases come from wild game...bear being one of the worst offenders."

                      Jay you can say this until your blue in the face but for some, especially older folks, the fear of worms in ones body with no cure is just to embedded.

                      For me, its pink or don't bother and your instructions are right on the mark.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        Well, "older folks" must be pretty dang old. I'm 66 and I've always known this. I think it's that some people don't like being confused by the facts :)

                        1. re: c oliver

                          "Some people don't like being confused by the facts"........This seems to be a systematic problem with many subjects these days & I think it could be a byproduct / conditioning of listening to our politician's BS year after year :-).

                          Seriously though, a nice piece of pink well marbled Berkshire pork is a real treat for somebody like me who grew up on shake & bake dried out shoe leather pork.

                          1. re: Tom34

                            I keep saying it's about time to buy a big freezer and get some super, local meat.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              If budget is a concern, used freezers can be had very reasonably on Craigslist and if its going in the basement a few nicks and scratches probably doesn't matter.

                              A good vacuum sealer really helps. I will be moving vac/sealed steaks from the freezer to the frig Fri morn for Sat eve.

                              1. re: Tom34

                                Are used freezers particularly non-energy efficient? I realize that the age matters a lot probably but I'm thinking most people don't get rid of newer ones.

                                My FoodSaver is my good friend :) Before I got it, I would never have frozen "good" meat or fish. It's one of those items that pays for itself. I can take a steak out after months and it's still red.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I don't think the older ones are as efficient as the newer ones but I do know the frost free are not as efficient as the manual defrost units. I have the manual defrost which I do with little effort once a year. Many say the manual defrost is also better for long term storage.

                                  FoodSavers rock. I have 2 of the original 1980's Italian made nozzle units and love them. If you search "Foodsaver" on Chow there are several threads on the subject where I wrote a couple long well researched posts on the subject.

                                  Cheapest price for Bags I have found is at "Webrestaurantstore". 300 count quart "Food fresh Vacu Strip bags" are about .18 cents per bag and gallon bags are under .25 cents to the front door. Much, much cheaper than Sams, BJ's, Costco & Walmart.

                                  Little tip with shell fish.....wrap shrimp & lobster tails in cheap butcher paper or brown lunch bags to keep the shells from puncturing the plastic bags. Then stuff into the Vacuum sealer bags and vacuum seal. Then your have a great surf and turf without leaving the house. Throw in a few microbrews and its heaven on the cheap.

                  1. re: primebeefisgood

                    Cool. I'll notch it down a bit. Thanks.

                2. I'm not sure if in my forty-some years of takin' up space on this planet I ever called someone a "twit", but c oliver is right: - "Your co-worker is a twit."

                  Hell, I won't even eat pork if it's not still pink.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MGZ

                    Chuckle out loud :)

                    Yes, on the rare (ha) occasions that my pork gets cooked beyond 145, I feel like a failure. I don't like grey pork.

                  2. BTW, back in the 1960s (yes THAT long ago), I worked in the parasitology department at the CDC. Even then trichinosis was pretty much a non-event, as mentioned, in commercial meat.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      Yeah, people made it out like it was a common occurrence. Very, very rare even back then. Changes in feeding practices have all but eliminated trichinosis in today's pork.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        That is not under cooked. When I cook a tenderloin, I tie it to make it as round as possible for even cooking. I then brown all sides evenly on the stove top in an old cast iron pan then finish in the oven to about 130 and pull it. During the rest it usually comes up to about 145 which is pink. I do the same thing for the whole loin.

                      2. Get a new thermometer. Enjoy pink pork. Tell your coworker that s/he is going to die, too.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc

                          I didn't know twit-itis was fatal...but it ought to be.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Ha. I did, of course, mean eventually!

                          2. re: sandylc

                            Before spending unnecessary money, dip your thermometer into a cup of boiling water. If it's close to 212F, save your money.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              If you're at a higher elevation you should find out what the boiling point of water is where you are. Here it's 198°F. It would be a shame to throw away a perfectly good thermometer thinking it's off by 14 degrees.

                              Enter your elevation on this page and it'll tell you: http://www.csgnetwork.com/h2oboilcalc...

                              1. re: Soul Vole

                                What a great reference!!! We live at 6400' and I know it makes a difference.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Oh yeah, it certainly does.

                                  The rough rule of thumb is that the boiling point drops 1°F for every 500' up. So even at 2500' you might think your thermometer is off by 5° even though it's exactly accurate, if what you're expecting is 212°.

                                  And in cooking it certainly makes a difference too. At 7400' I can make fairly decent bread, but really good bread still eludes me. Figuring out rice was an actual project -- lots of burned yet undercooked rice in the trash till I finally got something that works.

                                  1. re: Soul Vole

                                    Same here for rice, and I'm only at 5200. I've learned to add more water when I start than the usual 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water. It usually is about 1/4 cup more.

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    Which is why the water/ice method is easier to perform in a more accurate manner than the boiling water method...

                                  3. re: Soul Vole

                                    And for those who either don't know their elevation (or just want to confirm it), if you type in your address at this site, they'll give your exact elevation according to Google Maps:


                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Love it! You are 6330 feet above me and Julie, 5130 feet. Despite always being the tallest girl in school, I suddenly feel very small.

                                        1. re: EM23

                                          Ha! Where I live it's pretty flat, with the mountains to the west, so it doesn't feel like I'm that high. Except for the incessant water drinking I do :-P

                                          BTW I lied, I'm not at 5200. I'm at 5112. I did sit above the mile high line at the Rockies baseball game the other day though.

                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                            those 88 feet destroy any credibility you once held. I trusted you.

                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              <I did sit above the mile high line at the Rockies baseball game the other day though.>?
                                              Something to cross off the bucket list! But are you telling the truth?

                                              1. re: EM23

                                                Haha! Yes! I can't say I tried to boil water while sitting up there though.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            Isn't it? I live in a somewhat hilly area, lots of hills and canyons, and it was fun to check elevations for other houses on the street, and on surrounding streets, to see how much of a slope there really is, how much steeper the other end of the street is, etc. (That would be really good for planning walking or running trips, to either increase the workout, or reduce it).

                                            I now know I'm at 1,000 feet, too.

                                      2. re: greygarious

                                        Good advice. I've had them die but I've never had one off by >25 degrees as OP fears. S/he hasn't reported in in a while so hope ok.

                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          Absolutely BRILLIANT @greygarious !!

                                          I boiled some water and the redi-temp thermo show 209 degrees. I also have an infrared thermometer gun (soo much fun), and that was similar.

                                          I guess well done (even to 165) can still be pink!

                                      3. Your coworker is funny. I like you will be fine.

                                        1. Here is a pic of a beautifully professionally cooked pork tenderloin. This is the way I like for my pork loin to look when I cook it at home.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                            The inside looks great, but I'd like to see some brown on the outside.

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              Yeah, that's pretty off-putting :(

                                            2. re: PotatoHouse

                                              Thanks for the pic! Would you say that "well done"? I cooked mine to 165 and look pretty similar. Next time I'll take a pic.

                                            3. I pull my pork at 135-138F. It's always pink, moist and delicious!

                                              1. Here's a link to the USDA revised recommendations re cooking roasts, including pork:


                                                Cook all roasts, whether beef, pork, whatever, to 145 degree internal temperature. Let "rest" for a minimum of 3 minutes. USDA says its OK to eat pink pork as long as you've done both of those.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                  The USDA not withstanding, to me cooking a beef roast to
                                                  145 degrees is a sacrilege.

                                                  Not only is disease no longer a real consideration in cooking
                                                  pork but now, because the animals are raised to be much
                                                  leaner than they were years ago, cooking to the old specs
                                                  makes the meat very dry.

                                                  1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                    I'll generally cook roasts with one of those internal temperature probes plugged into them (the kind with the wire that goes out your oven and has a digital readout) and set the alarm for ten degrees BELOW the recommended temperature. I'll pull it out immediately and tent it with foil to let it rest, and the temperature will rise the additional 10 degrees while its resting anyhow.

                                                    1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                      If I cook a beef roast to 145, I'm ordering a pizza as soon as I realize my fuck up.

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        It's 110° max for me, or call for a pie...

                                                        ETA - 110° max for beef. Pork, I pull at 135°, usually.

                                                      2. re: ferventfoodie

                                                        I see a new business that someone out west needs to start; the name is "Fatty Cow Ranch".

                                                    2. I posted the link to this article about pork and temperature on the pork chop thread a while back, but it bears a repeat link here, in the interest of good piggy. In case you don’t feel like reading it, the article quotes Ruhlman as saying that he cooks pork to 135 degrees. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

                                                      The pork chop thread is also worth a read

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                        That makes sense, since I generally find anything cooked more than 10 degrees below USDA recs to be totally inedible.

                                                      2. It is apparent in North America that you have such well regulated and monitored pork industry standards and requirements.

                                                        On an International level, that is not always the case. Trichinosis is only one important concern. Origin of the product was not mentioned, and it is very important when discussing this subject, in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

                                                        One of your really excellent CH threads, involving contributor The Man, mentioned Swine Flu and countries experiencing disease problem that he sees as a US Customs officer. Swine Cholera reports in Latin America ( Mexico to Tierra del Fuego ) is another problem.

                                                        I'm not suggesting this is a problem in North America, with the excellent regulations of both Canada and the US. You are indeed fortunate in that regard.

                                                        I am mentioning this for those who travel internationally as many of us do. Be aware of updated health alerts for such problems in the countries you intend to travel in.

                                                        I would not necessarily change my plans with a health alert, but I might avoid certain foods ( well done, rather than pink, for example ) in some countries, even including Europe.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                            Swine flu has nothing to do with food safety and food-borne illness. It's transmitted like any other flu and not from the consumption of pork products. And flu among pigs isn't uncommon, including in the U.S.

                                                            1. re: Soul Vole

                                                              I got swine flu 2 1/2 years ago. Bacon was the likely culprit. A remote possibility was human interaction. Then again, I like my tenderloin pink, that could also be it, but I'm sticking to the bacon theory.

                                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                And how did you arrive at these conclusions?

                                                                Unless you eat your bacon raw, you didn't get it from the bacon.

                                                                1. re: Soul Vole

                                                                  I'm sure it was human interaction, kidding about the pork.

                                                            2. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                              For Pete's sake, you can't get swine flu from eating pork.

                                                            3. Thank you everyone! I now feel much safer knowing that my redi-thermometer is accurate, my pork is safe, and I can enjoy it when it's a bit pink, moist and delicious!


                                                              17 Replies
                                                              1. re: mike2401

                                                                And your co-worker is still a twit :) Since you know how much he overcooks meat, I recommend not accepting any invitations to his home for dinner!

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Actually he's pretty sharp, an avid watcher of the cooking channels, so I'm really surprised at his proclamation that safe pork should not be pink.

                                                                  That aside, he's been enormously helpful on my journey as I learn to cook, and has provided lots of awesome info (as have the foodies here!)

                                                                  Thanks again to everyone for their willingness to help a newbie!


                                                                  1. re: mike2401

                                                                    Oh, alright :) We're all entitled to at LEAST one screw up!

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Years ago raw restaurant food scraps and other food production waste were fed to pigs. To the best of my knowledge, all such pig feed sources have to be heated to a certain temp which along with other measures has all but eliminated Trichinosis in pork. Some exotic animals such as bear are still a concern. Truth be told though, cross contamination from chicken is a chefs biggest nightmare.

                                                                    2. re: mike2401

                                                                      You're nice for defending your coworker. He is obviously watching the wrong cooking shows.

                                                                      1. re: mike2401

                                                                        Have you enlightened your coworker with a few posts from this thread to indicate he was wrong in saying you'll die if you eat pink pork? (Maybe not the twit comments - although they *were* funny!)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I did (not the twit comments). He took it in good nature.

                                                                          1. re: mike2401

                                                                            The fact that you're still posting is a good sign!

                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            "Twit" is so much gentler than "ignoramus" or "Blithering idiot" !

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Oh, I concur, c oliver! The word is used with free abandon by me. :-)

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                "'[I]gnoramus' or 'Blithering idiot'"

                                                                                Now those are words I have uttered before.

                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                  There is a micro brew called "Blithering Idiot". Good present if you happen to know one :-)

                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    You got me thinking about the last time I saw my cousin and he came with a six of Arrogant Bastard for me.

                                                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                                                        Actually, I'd feel better about the subliminal message had he sprung for that. I mean, you have the whole metaphoric value of the "sturdy oak" that way. It's like sayin" "You're a Son of a Bitch, but I'd never hesitate to lean on you for support."

                                                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                                                        I am surprised some of that did not end up on my door mat :-)

                                                                              2. re: mike2401

                                                                                Maybe you can show him this recipe http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe... with the lovely pink pork. Then again he might think Williams Sonoma is trying to kill everybody.

                                                                          3. As others have mention 165 is certainly safe but I've not seen the level of pink at that temp and I cook mine to around 145

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                              I've cooked pork shoulder in the pressure cooker, where the internal temperature rises significantly above the boiling point for an hour, and even though the meat is thoroughly cooked, some of it will still come out a little pink. But the pink color often fades as it cools on the plate while I wait to shred it, or soon after refrigeration.

                                                                            2. Rosey-pink is perfect, rare not so much. Your thermometer might need calibration. 160° = shoe leather. No bueno.

                                                                              1. 1. Yes, you can eat Pink Pork....Tenderloins will look Pink. Loin will look very Pale Pink when cooked to 135-140.,,,,this is due to the separate muscle dynamics like white and dark meat chicken.

                                                                                2. Many restaurants will cook Pork Tenderloins only to an internal temperature of 130-135. The carryover effect will raise the temperature another 5 degrees during holdover and before being sliced.

                                                                                1. mike - for fun (I'm not going to directly respond to your question as it was adequately addressed) have some fun and mess with this person with some ridiculous "you're going to die" warnings.

                                                                                  tell him to never buy cigarettes on a Tuesday. Friday corn is covered in poison spitting aphids. Spring Chickens are dead chickens. Petit Pois are only still petit as they've been PICKED and will never grow larger. ever. (I know heartbreaking, huh?)

                                                                                  a little pink is quite ok. you won't die unless it was rancid in the first place.

                                                                                  1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                    Well at this point it's 4 day's old so there is NO WAY you should eat it now, especially if not refrigerated this entire time.

                                                                                    Had I responded shortly after you posted this, I would have said, "Go for it you should be fine".

                                                                                    1. The pork growers association should modify their old marketing campaign a bit:
                                                                                      "Pork. The other pink meat."

                                                                                      1. As C Oliver says your co-worker is a twit. It could have parasites if it was a wild pig. Today's pork (from the grocery or butcher shop) has been raised in a clean environment and has had a careful diet. This diet for the pigs is giving us pork with little flavor and little fat.

                                                                                        I cook pork roasts to internal temp of 150 F, then let it stand, tented with foil, for 20-30 mins. It is moist and tasty, fully cooked. The pork in your picture looks just fine. Enjoy it.

                                                                                        1. I cook mine to 145 and its a little pink, very moist and I can cut it with a fork. I've made many of them and my whole family is still alive! The last one I made, I marinated in teriyaki sauce then rolled in sesame seeds and baked. It was fantastic. Enjoy your cooking adventures.