Seeking to change the thinking of a whole generation raised on fears of trichinosis in undercooked pork, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) now says pork and all other whole cuts of red meat need only be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. The previous recommendation of 160 degrees for pork “was probably overkill,” says a USDA official. Trichinosis, a parasitic disease from eating undercooked meat infected with roundworm larvae, hasn’t actually been a problem in commercially produced pork for years. The real worry is salmonella, but USDA testing found that pork cooked to 145 degrees and then allowed to rest for 3 minutes (during which the internal temperature keeps rising) was safe – not to mention more juicy. The update simplifies the government’s recommendations for safe cooking temperatures: 145 degrees for all whole cuts of red meat, 160 for ground red meat and 165 for poultry. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure.
From the June 3 Tufts Health and Nutrition Update