WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised its recommended cooking temperature for pork and other red meat.
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety, said the department determined it is just as safe to cook pork, whole cuts of pork and other red meat to 145 degrees F with a 3-minute rest time as it is to cook them to 160 degrees with no rest time.
“First, pork roasts and chops should reach a safer minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F, before removing from the heat source and as measured with a food thermometer,” Patrick O’Leary of the USDA said in a statement. “Second, consumers should allow a 3-minute rest time before carving or consuming pork cuts.”
This two-step process is sufficient to protect against pathogens such as salmonella that could be found in those cuts of meat, Hagen said.
“During the 3 minutes after the meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which will destroy any pathogens,” Hagen said. “And so lowering the cooking temperature of raw pork, steaks, roasts and chops by 15 degrees F with the addition of that 3-minute rest time will provide consumers with a product that is both microbiologically safe and at its best quality — juicy and tender.”