Culinary Myth #53: Pork must be cooked to well done

11.07.2016 - By cooking with bruce and mark

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Back in the 60s our parents always cooked pork to well done, to 180 degrees. They said it was to kill any Trichinosis that might be lurking in the meat. Then things started to change. in 2000 the USDA said you only needed to cook pork to 160 then it went down to 150 and now, pork only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees F. And we're talking about whole muscle cuts like roasts or chops. Not ground pork, that still needs to be cooked to 165 degrees F. So why the change? Well, better farming practices have led to almost no trichinosis being found in pork raised in the US. In fact, in 2015 only 11 cases of Trichinosis were documented in the US and those were from eating other wild meat including horse, moose, and bear.  So 145 is the safe temperature to kill any possible pathogens that might be in pork and it's good because pork comes out juicier and more tender at that temperature. But it also comes out pink and that is the most surprising and sometimes scary thing for people who grew up with well done pork. But fear not, it's safe, it's tasty, and it's delicious.

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