Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Pork Cooking Recommendations - Did You Know?

Pork is a Clean food product, when purchased properly. Look for pork that has not been brined or injected with a saline solution to make it heavier ( and cost more ! ) and to make it a "juicier, more flavorful" product.

I didn't realize that the USDA changed the recommended endpoint temperature for pork On May 24, 2011, the USDA announced that pork can be safely cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit ( 63 degrees Celsius ), down from the previously-recommended 160 degrees Fahrenheit. That 15 degree difference will typically yield a finished product that is pinker and moister than most home cooks are used to.

The reasoning for this has been attributed to the overall improvement in the manner hogs are raised in the US, and the overall health of the hogs in general. The incidences of certain previously questionable organisms
( trichinosis, mainly ) have been lowered significantly - and the USDA recognizes that cooking a piece of meat to within shoe leather status is simply no longer necessary.

What can you do?

Go get yourself a digital meat thermometer, and the next time you cook a piece of pork, remove it from the oven after it reaches approximately 140+ degrees. Let it rest for 5+ minutes before serving. Check the resting temperature again to be sure your pork has achieved 145 degrees. Then, cut into it and observe the color. After a few uses of the meat thermometer, you'll probably no longer need it - as you will have gauged the time and temperature needed for your facilities at home how to achieve 145 degrees. You'll be really impressed with how moist and flavorful that 15 degree difference makes!

But as the sticker above reinforces: ground pork is treated differently - and a pork patty MUST still be cooked to an internal temperature of no less than 160 degrees.