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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let Your Pork Rest

Doesn’t a nice pot roast sound good on a cold January evening? in 2011 the U. S. Department of Agriculture changed its recommendation for cooking pork. It use to be recommended we cook our pork to 160 degrees F. Now through research they know that cooking pork to 145 degrees F is safe as long as you let it rest for a full three minutes after removing it from the oven and before cutting into it and serving it. The rest period is essential. It allows the roast to stay hot, or even continue heating, to be certain to eliminate any pork-related pathogens that can cause foodborne illness, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, as well as Trichinella spiralis, which causes trichinosis.

Trichinosis in particular is associated with undercooked pork, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that over the last decade or two, the number of cases has greatly declined. In fact, between 1997 and 2001, only 12 cases per year were reported. Trichinosis is now more associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game than it is with pork.

The lower cooking temperature will help keep your roast from drying out. In fact, the rest period assists with that, as well. Letting meat rest for a few minutes between cooking and slicing and serving is often recommended as a way to help keep meat juices in the meat instead of running onto the cutting board or your plate.

It might look odd to you, but pork, like other meats, might remain pink even after it reaches a safe temperature. As with other meats, don't rely on what it looks like to determine if it's done or not. It's always recommended to check doneness with a meat thermometer.

Finally, the new, lower cooking temperature does not apply to ground pork. That still must be cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees to be safe.

So cook up a pork roast and enjoy it on a cold winter night. Using a thermometer and the information here you will have a safe, moist and delicious meat.