Pork Cooking Temperature Could Boost Demand

by 5m Editor
13 July 2011, at 11:19am

US - The National Pork Board's Vice President of Science and Technology is confident the US Department of Agriculture's reduction in the recommended end point cooking temperature for pork will improve consumer satisfaction and lead to increased sales of pork, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service has reduced its recommended end point temperature for safely cooking whole cuts of pork by 15 degrees to 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured with a food thermometer followed by a three minute rest period.

The change brings recommendations for cooking pork in line with those for beef, veal and lamb.

Dr Paul Sundberg, the National Pork Board's Vice President of Science and Technology, says the challenge now is to make consumers aware of the recommendations.

Dr Paul Sundberg-National Pork Board

With our pork products there's a narrow window of opportunity to cook it to a spot that is acceptable and it's easy.

One of the things we found out with our research was that once a piece of pork is taken off a heat source its temperature continues to rise so if we take it off at say 145 degrees it continues to rise even after that during that three minute rest up to 155 or so.

The same thing happens if you take it off at 160, it'll continue to rise and that continued rise in the temperature will tend to if you're not careful, in a natural product, will tend to make it drier and it may affect the tenderness of the product et cetera.

So it's a really important project to help to make consumers aware that they don't have to over cook pork.

Dr Sunberg acknowledges for generations consumers have been told you need to cook pork until its gray or until its white in the middle so it's going to take time to change that attitude however he's confident the change will ultimately result in a significantly increased demand for pork because it's going to put a better product on consumers' tables.