Pork chops.jpgToday the USDA announced that the minimum safe cooking temperature for pork has been lowered from 165 °F to 145 °F.  In addition, a 3 minute resting period after removing the meat from the grill has been added to the recommendation.  The new lower temperature recommendation and resting period comes after several years of research and consultation with food producers and food safety experts.

“Dr. James McKean, associate director of the Swine Industry Center at Iowa State University, said 145 degrees is higher than the kill temperature for bacteria and parasites that could make people sick.”

Despite the lowered temperature for pork, the minimum recommended cooking temperature for other cuts of meat remains the same.  To recap, the minimum safe cooking temperatures for common cuts of meat are as follows:

  • 145 °F – fish, shellfish, beef steaks and roasts, and (now) pork
  • 160 °F – ground beef, veal, and lamb
  • 165 °F – chicken and turkey

It is important to use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, placed into the thickest part of the part, to test whether it has reached the proper temperature.  Color and firmness are NOT good indicators of doneness or internal temperature.