According to the CDC, salmonella is responsible for approximately 1.2 million illnesses each year in the United States. Of those 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 lead to hospitalizations and 450 lead to death.
Those numbers would scare almost anyone away from pink meat, especially pink pork. But now the CDC is revising its standards and telling everyone that pink pork is safe to eat.
Of course, some of you are still skeptical about eating your pork steak or bratwurst with pink inside.
And we understand. That said, we’re going to do our best to assure you that you can safely enjoy pink pork.
Let’s take a look at why pork can be pink now:
Why Can Pork Be Pink Now?
So why is it that pork can be pink now? Many of us have, after all, been told that pink pork isn’t safe for consumption.
Well, there are a couple of reasons for the CDC’s revised standards. Those reasons are as follows:
There is an obsession with cooking the perfect steak these days. The general consensus is that your beef steak should be somewhat pink on the inside.
But pork hasn’t gotten this same treatment. As a result, many people purposely cook their pork until every trace of pink is gone.
There’s just one problem with cooking pork in this manner: pork that’s cooked for this long is often overcooked.
And the fact that pork cuts have become considerably leaner only exacerbates the problem. Those lean cuts are too often coming out of the pan dry and unappetizing.
Using the CDC’s new standards, cooks should be able to make sure their pork comes out of the pan juicy and tender.
The Three-Minute Rest
Here’s yet another reason for the CDC’s revised standards: meat continues to cook after you remove it from the pan or oven. It does so for about three minutes.
And that’s why the CDC and professional chefs recommend that you give your meat a three-minute rest after you cook it.
People who ignore this recommendation run the risk of overcooking their pork.
Imagine, for example, what happens when you cook your pork on a high temperature to achieve a well-done cut. That pork continues to cook for another three minutes after you remove it from the pan.
So you end up with a cut that’s more than well-done. It’s drier and tougher than you intended it to be.
So What’s the New Recommended Pork Temperature?
Now that you know why it’s safe to eat pink pork, let’s discuss the new recommended pork cooking temp.
If you know anything about cooking pork, you know that the old recommended temperature was 160 degrees. This cooking temp is the same as the one the CDC currently recommends for cooking eggs and ground meats.
The new cooking temp is 145 degrees–the same cooking temp the CDC recommends for beef. The CDC’s standards also mandate the three-minute rest to ensure that pork is safe to eat.
Enjoy Your Pink Pork
Well, now you know that you can enjoy pink pork without fear. A little pink pork isn’t going to kill you; the CDC says so.
So go out and enjoy your favorite pork dishes with a medium rare cook. If you need help finding a decent restaurant, take a look at some of the restaurant menus we’ve collected for you. There’s a type of food for everyone on the list.