The guideline is 15 degrees F lower than previously recommended and mirrors cooking guidelines for other meats. It means that consumers can cook pork to medium-rare and enjoy juicier and more tender pork, which likely will be supportive to demand.
The FSIS recommendation applies only to pork whole-muscle cuts such as chops, loins and roasts; ground pork, like all ground meats, should be cooked to 160 degrees F and checked for doneness using a digital meat thermometer, according to the announcement issued by the Pork Board.
The recommendation evolved from checkoff-funded research that began in 2007 that determined how various cooking temperatures affected consumer eating preferences and that found that pork cooked to 145 degrees F is safe, the announcement explained.
The recommendation reflects advances in pork nutrition and safety in recent years, the announcement said, noting that, on average, most common cuts of pork are now 16% leaner than 20 years ago and have 27% less saturated fat.