Is Pink Pork Safe to Eat?

Good news: Pork doesn't need to be well done in order to be safe to eat!

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
January 10, 2014

Q. I was at a dinner party over the holidays and the host served a pork loin that was pink in the center. I was taught that pork isn't safe to eat unless it is white in color. I didn't want to offend my hosts but I couldn't bring myself to eat it. No one else seemed concerned.  Are my worries unfounded?pork loin

A. Your concerns are not completely unfounded -- but they are a bit out of date.

For decades, home cooks were instructed to cook pork to an internal temperature of 1600 F in order to kill parasites that could cause trichinosis infection.  At this temperature, pork is not only bone-white in color but often bone-dry as well.  

Just a couple of years ago, however, the USDA officially acknowledged what many intrepid eaters has known for years: Pork is perfectly safe -- and far more succulent -- when cooked to 1450 F.  These new guidelines for pork are similar to those for beef, veal, and lamb. 

Although it may take a little getting used to, you don't need to worry about eating pork that's a bit pink --and once you discover how tender and juicy it is when it's not cooked to death, you'll never look back. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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