|Script: USDA Changes
Consumer Guidance for Cooking Pork
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection
Service "Food Safety At Home" podcast series, featuring topics
for the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry
and processed egg products. So, sit back, turn up the volume and
In case you haven’t heard… The U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recently
lowered its temperature recommendations for cooking pork chops,
pork roasts and pork tenderloins to 145 °F. But there’s more to
this new recommendation than just lower temperature!
People should remember to measure the temperature of the meat
with a food thermometer in the thickest part before removing it
from the heat, and then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes
before carving or eating it.
Recent scientific studies have shown that it is safe to cook
whole cuts of pork to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F
with a 3-minute rest time to ensure that food pathogens that may
be present on the meat are destroyed. This also applies to beef,
lamb, and veal steaks, roasts, and chops.
You’re probably wondering: Why is a 3-minute rest time so
important? During the first three minutes after meat is removed
from the heat source, for example - a grill or an oven, its
temperature will either stay the same or continue to rise, which
will destroy harmful bacteria.
Of course, you may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures if
Please keep in mind…. While it is now safe to cook whole cuts of
pork to 145 °F, this change does NOT apply to ground meats such
as pork patties and ground pork mixtures. Ground meat must still
be cooked to 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer in order
to kill foodborne bacteria.
Now... if you happen to notice your pork still looks pink after
the food thermometer reads 145 °F and it was allowed to rest for
three minutes, don’t worry… it is safe to eat.
In the past, the color pink in pork was thought to be a sign of
undercooked meat. That’s no longer the case, because the color
pink could be due to the cooking method, added ingredients, or
other factors. As always, cured pork (cured ham and cured pork
chops) will remain pink after cooking.
Just a few reminders: Never brown or partially cook pork, then
refrigerate and finish cooking later, because any bacteria
present wouldn’t have been destroyed. It is safe to partially
cook or microwave pork as long as it is immediately transferred
to the grill to finish cooking.
Please remember to always use a food thermometer when you cook
meat, because color is NOT an indicator of doneness. The food
thermometer is the only way to be sure raw meats are cooked to a
high enough temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria!
For more information on how to cook pork safely, please visit
the FSIS website at
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Last Modified: June 22, 2011