The Government Says Its OK for Your Pork Chops To Be Pink

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Thermys gonna need some dental work, taxpayer.
  • USDA.gov
  • Thermy's gonna need some dental work, taxpayer.
Grilling pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees—some 15 degrees below former recommendations—has gotten the nod of approval from the USDA, the federal department charged with meat safety matters.

In practice many consumers have been doing this for years, but others have been grilling until the last traces of pink were gone, thereby ensuring that pork, already bred to be 30 percent leaner than the pork of grandma's day, would be entirely chewy and dry.

A couple of notes:

* The ruling applies only to whole cuts of pork: ground pork still requires 160 degrees, just like ground beef and ground lamb.

*The pork must be allowed to rest for 3 minutes. The temperature continues to rise for a couple of minutes after it's removed from the grill, so any pathogens in the meat continue to be destroyed.

*Remember: 145-degree pork is still a little pink. Pink is good. And anyway, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

What that means is that now more than ever, you can't tell by cutting open the chop whether it's safe or not. That's the job of a reliable meat thermometer. Major grilling holidays Memorial Day, Father's Day and July 4 are all upcoming, so if you don't have a good meat thermometer, those are great excuses to get one.

Read the press release here.

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