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May 25, 2011   Email to Friend 

USDA APPROVES LOWER COOKING TEMPERATURE FOR MEDIUM-RARE, JUICY, FLAVORFUL PORK
May 25, 2011

Pork that's pink in the middle isn't a bad thing after all.

The USDA has set new guidelines that say home-cooked pork chops, roasts and tenderloins are safe for consumption when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit followed by a three-minute rest time.

Previous guidelines advised home cooks to make sure pork reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and the significant 15-degree drop should yield more flavorful, juicy and pink pork than consumers are accustomed to.

Restaurants have been following this standard for 10 years.

The changes are a result of advances in food safety and the nutritional content of pork--according to the National Pork Board, most cuts of pork today have 27 percent less saturated fat than the same cuts 20 years ago.

The USDA and the National Pork Board recommend using a digital cooking thermometer when cooking pork to ensure it reaches 145 degrees.

Ground pork, like all other ground meat, should still be cooked to 160 degrees. Pre-cooked ham can be reheated to 140 degrees or consumed cold on sandwiches.

Along with the new lower cooking temperature for pork, the USDA recommends the following food preparation guidelines:

Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Separate: Don't cross-contaminate
Cook: To proper cooking temperatures
Chill: Refrigerate promptly

A detailed list of instructions for a variety of cooking methods and cuts of pork can be found here.


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