A Little Pink: USDA Lowers Temperature Guidelines for Cooking Pork

published May 25, 2011
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

It’s something chefs (and The Kitchn!) have been saying for years: 160 degrees is overdoing it for pork. Today the USDA announced they agreed and set a new benchmark for a safe cooking temperature for the meat. But did they go low enough?

Today, the USDA cooled their previous recommended cooking temperature for pork by 15 degrees. They now recommend that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Citing problems of overcooking pork under the old standard of 160 degrees, the USDA’s change of tune is closer to what many chefs have known and practiced for some time. Many would even like the standard to be lowered another 10 degrees.

Food writer Michael Ruhlman tells the Los Angeles Times:

“It’s a good thing they lowered the temperature because the 160 degrees is not only ridiculous, it is inaccurate and therefore harmful,” he said. “But 145 degrees still doesn’t make sense to me because it fails to include time. I cook my pork to 135 degrees because that is the point at which its flavor and texture are best.”

Is this news to you or are you already cooking pork less than the old USDA guidelines?

Read more: USDA changes guidelines for cooking pork at the Los Angeles Times

(Images: Flickr user thebittenword.com licensed for use under Creative Commons)