Do you like your pork a little pink? Well, now the USDA says it’s safe.
The USDA recently released new guidelines that lowered its recommended cooking temperature to 145 F from 160 F.
“Our consumer research has consistently shown that Americans have a tendency to overcook common cuts of pork, resulting in a less-than-optimal eating experience,” says Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the National Pork Board. “The new guidelines will help consumers enjoy pork at its most flavorful, juicy – and safe – temperature.”
The USDA says consumers should still cook ground pork patties and pork mixtures, like meat loaf, to 160 F. It’s the cuts like pork steaks, chops, and roasts that can be cooked to the lowered internal temperature of 145 F.
It’s What’s For Dinner… But Not How You’d Expect
While the USDA lowered the cooking temperature for pork, North Carolina still has a law requiring high cooking temperatures for beef.
In fact, it’s illegal for restaurants in the tar heel state to cook rare and medium-rare beef.
Since an outbreak of E. Coli at Jack in the Box restaurants in the 1990s, the state has required that all restaurants cook their ground beef to an internal temperature of 155 F.
To give some perspective, temperatures for cooking beef are as follows:
- 145 F (60 C) for medium rare
- 160 F(70 C) for medium
- 175 F (75 C) for well done
The Beef Black Market
North Carolinians aren’t letting their state’s law get in the way of having their beef the way they like it: they are traveling across state lines for the perfect burger.
Additionally, to keep customers in state and happy, restaurants have been coming up with secret codes for patrons who want their burgers served rare.
All this said, the state is thinking about dropping the rule and instead requiring a disclaimer on menus stating the potential dangers of consuming raw and undercooked meat.