It's finally official! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered the endpoint cooking temperature for pork, creating a great opportunity for you to educate consumers about the revised guideline and promote its juicy benefits to your customers.
On May 24, 2011, the USDA announced that pork can be safely cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, down from the previously-recommended 160 degrees Fahrenheit. That 15 degree difference will typically yield a finished product that is pinker and moister than most home cooks are used to.
To help your customers enjoy perfectly-cooked pork at its new lower temperature, educate them about and encourage the use of cooking thermometers. To communicate what 145 degrees Fahrenheit looks like visually, let them know that pork cooked to that temperature will be "medium rare", with a pink blush in the center.
New USDA Pork Cooking Guidelines
• Cook pork to a final internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured on a food thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest time.
• Apply the new temperature guideline to pork whole muscle cuts (i.e. loin, chops and roasts) only. Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Use a digital cooking thermometer to ensure an accurate final temperature regardless of cut or cooking method, as recommended by both the USDA and National Pork Board.
Learn more about how to convey this information to the pork lovers shopping your meat case: