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New USDA Guidelines Lower Pork Cooking Temperature


May 25, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today new cooking guidelines which lower pork cooking temperatures. The announcement follows significant research performed by Ohio State University, Exponent's Food Safety Team and Texas A&M University. 

The new recommendation evolved from a 2007 Pork Checkoff-funded research project from the National Pork Board, conducted by Ohio State University, to measure consumer eating preferences. As part of that project the university researchers tested how various end-cooking temperatures affected eating preferences. But the researchers needed to know if temperatures below 160 degrees would be safe if that turned out to be consumers' preference. 

That question resulted in a subsequent Checkoff-funded research project with Exponent to conduct a risk assessment to evaluate any food-safety implications of cooking temperatures within a range of 145-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The risk assessment found that cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees was equivalent to cooking pork to 160 degrees.

Further research conducted by Texas A&M supports the fact that meat temperature continues to rise after being removed from the heat and the reality that "resting time" between cooking and eating is at least that long. Therefore, FSIS agreed that the cooking temperature for pork could be lowered.

To read the full press release from the FSIS, click here.

To read the National Pork Board release, click here.