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New food safety guidelines released for pork

Posted on Aug 19, 2011 by Maggie LaBarbera

The USDA has announced a new pork guidelines to help avoid getting sick from bacteria and other "germs" that are found in pork.  Pork now has the same requirements as other whole meats from beef, lamb and veal.

  • Always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat placed in the thickest part of the meat
  • Cook until thermometer shows the desired temperature has been reached
  • Cool the meat for three minutes before cutting

To Review Temperature Requirements:

  • For all whole meats including pork:  should be cooked to 140 °F and require a 3 minute cooling time.
  • Ground meats (beef, veal, lamb and pork) should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a cooling time.
  • Poultry Meat, including ground chicken and turkey, require a temperature of 165°F

Why the 3 minute Cooling Time is Important

A "cooling or rest time" is the amount of time the meat remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other cooking methods. During the three minutes after the meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys germs that can make us sick.

Why the thermometer is better than appearance:

For most us, if we see the color pink in pork we think that it is undercooked.  If raw pork is cooked to 145 °F and allowed to rest for three minutes, it may still be pink but is safe to eat. The pink color can be due to the cooking method, added ingredients, or other factors. As always, cured pork (e.g., cured ham and cured pork chops) will remain pink after cooking.

How the meat looks is not always the best or most reliable indicator of safety or risk. Only by using a food thermometer can you be sure that the meat has reached a sufficient temperature to kill all the germs that may be lurking in uncooked meat.  Some pork like uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.

A little simple cooking technique can help your children and family avoid sickness from food poisoning.

Other resources:

Chef Solus Food Safety Rules Checklist Spanish version





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