City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

USDA approves of pink pork. Do you?

porkpuckYesterday the USDA updated its recommendations for cooking pork. Most notably, it lowered the recommended lowest  safe internal temperature from 160 degrees to 145 degrees.

According to the new guidelines, it is now considered safe to cook whole (i.e., not ground) pork to 145 degrees and let it rest for three minutes after cooking. Ground pork, like hamburger, should still be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

This will result in pork chops and roasts that are still pink in the center.

I know that the parasite Trichinella spiralis has long been eradicated from the commercial pork supply, so I’ve had no qualms about cooking or serving pink pork. I have, maybe twice in my life, seen a couple of guests turn a little green in the gills when I’ve served pinkish pork tenderloin. (Then again, it might have been our housekeeping.)

The folks at the Pork Information Bureau must have been downing Bakon Vodka shots as soon as the news hit. They took no time in overnighting me a press release with this hockey puck and a new slogan: “Great news for pork lovers: The puck stops here.”

Do you still cook pork well done? Will this news change your approach to porcine palatability?

32 comments Add your comment


May 25th, 2011
12:28 pm

I’ve always liked tender pork with some color.


May 25th, 2011
12:29 pm

Sure. I can dig it. It’s more moist that way. I’ve always loved my bacon floppy too.

Academic Socialite

May 25th, 2011
12:36 pm

Have always served pork pink at this temp. 145 degrees is gracious plenty! Happily, now I have some documentation to point to the next time my mother is critical of my “underdone” pork tenderloin.

Hungry Gringo

May 25th, 2011
12:57 pm

I know people who’ve chewed bacon like gum for years without getting sick.


May 25th, 2011
1:25 pm

A long overdue update. People used to cook pork to death for fear of trichinosis, which usually only comes with animals that are field-grazed, not raised in the mass pork farms of the U.S. today. So if you’re using artisan, field-grazed pork, it’s still important to cook close to 160!


May 25th, 2011
2:00 pm

LOL, Reds – as kids, my siblings and I always asked for “floppy” bacon! We’ve never known anyone else who calls it that, or perfers it that way. It’s good to see someone else out there as “weird” as we!


May 25th, 2011
2:11 pm

Yes and no. It agrees with me more than beef.


May 25th, 2011
2:30 pm

Still wouldnt take any chances on this. yuck

That's All Folks

May 25th, 2011
2:35 pm

Bacon is a different story because its cured and smoked. Personally, I like moist pork but, unlike beef and lamb, I think pork tastes better when it is fully cooked – pink pork is very bland.


May 25th, 2011
2:50 pm

Med to med-rare on pork. STOP OVER COOKING YOUR MEAT.

Not sure why we live and die by how the government tells us to cook our food.


May 25th, 2011
3:04 pm

trichinosis dies at 137 degrees F anyways…….

Bacon is smoked

May 25th, 2011
4:41 pm

Remember, y’all, bacon is smoked so it’s always been safer to eat bacon “floppy.” I like mine very chewy and have never gotten sick. The wife likes it crispy – yuck.


May 25th, 2011
4:52 pm

Jim, I think you’re confused. There is no such thing as “field-grazed pork”. I suppose you’re thinking about pork that has been fed table scraps.


May 25th, 2011
5:19 pm

This decision is long overdue. Most of us have been cooking this way for years anyhow. Over done pork is really not food that anyone would ask for.

Brogens Hero

May 25th, 2011
5:47 pm

I have been cooking pork tenderloins and chops to a temp of 140 or so for over ten years. I refuse to overcook meat or seafood at my house. I have never had anyone become ill from my pork. I cook pork tenderloins several times a month. They are a blank canvas that will adapt to many flavor profiles. The leftovers are great on salads or for sandwiches.


May 25th, 2011
5:52 pm

When I was a child living in Taiwan we always had our pork pink. Taiwan pigs didn’t have Trichinella spiralis back then, so there were no worries. It shocked me when we got back to the states to have all the pork I ate cooked to the texture of shoe leather. So, yes, I will be happily eating my pork a sensible medium rare.


May 25th, 2011
6:14 pm

I don’t eat meat at all, but shouldn’t there be the concern about trichinosis?

74 Dawg

May 25th, 2011
7:01 pm

Maybe so, but old habits die hard. I don’t think I can enjoy pink pork or chicken. Lamb and beef yes. Seared Tuna, absolutely. Shrimp or scallops moist yes, translucent, no. I would as soon try wild caught catfish sushi as pink pork. Just me.


May 25th, 2011
7:02 pm

i hate dry shoe leather meat. bring on the pink pig!


May 25th, 2011
7:06 pm

being from atlanta georgia…bring on the pink pig! yum


May 25th, 2011
8:16 pm

I know how to cook fully cooked pork that is still moist.


May 25th, 2011
11:10 pm

I can’t stand overcooked meat, PERIOD.


May 26th, 2011
9:13 am

Thanks to watching food shows, I have been cooking my pork like this for years. And having a wife that basically never had pork growing up and now goes by “Pork Fat Rules”, we eat a lot of pork.


May 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

A government agency under Obama loosened the guidelines for pork? There’s a shock.


May 26th, 2011
3:26 pm

Is this seriously taking up space in the AJC? This is more than GROSS. I just threw up a little in my mouth!!


May 27th, 2011
9:05 am

In Kansas they cook pork chops well done on one side, and then turn it over and cook it again. The last time I got one like that In a restaurant I tried to send it back, but they said I’d bent it.


May 27th, 2011
10:19 am

I always have tried to cook until white but occasionally failed. It was a little pink and I was hungry so I ate it anyway and I’m still here. Noticed it tastes a little better pink. So I guess new guidelines make sense.

bucky b

May 28th, 2011
4:23 pm

I have been cooking pork like that for years. You will find that it is more flavorful and moist, but it will also be way more tender.

Katz P. Ajamas

May 28th, 2011
9:28 pm

Why didn’t you till me this BEFORE I cooked my roast today?

Ayn Rand was right

May 29th, 2011
12:04 am

The only way to eat pork is medium – medium rare…beef : mooing, I don’t even mind a little pink in my chicken. People are WAY to uptight about undercooked meat.


May 29th, 2011
9:57 am

74 Dawg…… pork, great! Pink chicken, never!


May 29th, 2011
10:05 am

JD…….trichinosis has been overcome by medicine and diatary supplements given to pigs. I am pretty sure about this fact. Maybe someone can give us the last word on this?