Last night my hubby cooked a pork loin roast — I love when he cooks me dinner. The recipe said to cook the meat until the internal temperature registers 140 to 145°F, and while the meat rests the temperature will rise another five to 10 degrees. He did this, and the pork was pink running with pink juices. We were both alarmed that it seemed quite underdone, but it seems that attitudes about pork have changed.
The Center For Disease Control still recommends cooking pork to at least 170°F and until the juices run clear to avoid trichinosis, a parasitic infection caused by undercooked meat. This conflicts with the USDA recommendation of cooking pork to 160°F. While trichinosis was once common, only an average of 12 cases are reported annually, which is considerably smaller than the 40,000 cases of salmonella reported every year to the CDC. Trichinosis has declined since feeding raw meat to hogs was outlawed; the trichina worms that cause the food-borne illness make their home in raw meat and if ingested through undercooked meat they can make their home in your gut. With the significant decrease in infection, pork should at least be cooked to a temperature that will kill E. coli, which is 160°F. Along with being safer, pork meat is now leaner, so it dries out when cooked at higher temps. Some chefs say 145°F is high enough for cuts of pork. What about you? How do you cook your pork?