The Canadian Pork Council is encouraging Health Canada to follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and reduce the recommended temperature for cooking whole cuts of pork.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service has determined it's safe to cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit followed by a three minute rest period, a 15 degree reduction from what it previously recommended and what is currently recommended in Canada.
Canadian Pork Council manager of nutrition and food industry relations Mary Ann Binnie says the change demonstrates that pork can be enjoyed at a lower end internal temperature.
Clip-Mary Ann Binnie-Canadian Pork Council:
The key factors to consider when cooking pork is that you do not over-cook and I think this information that has come out of the U.S. is very positive because for years consumers have been over-cooking pork and it certainly is not necessary.
There was research conducted in the U.S. that has clearly demonstrated that it is unnecessary to over-cook pork or to treat it any differently than the other meats such as beef, lamb or veal.
Cooking temperature definitely will have an impact on the juiciness, the tenderness and texture and it's because when you cook for a long time you are drying the moisture out of the meat.
As a result it's going to drier, tougher, less flavorful so this is wonderful news that the research has clearly demonstrated that you do not need to over-cook pork.
Binnie recalls the U.S. reduced its recommended endpoint cooking temperature for pork to 160 degrees in 1986 but Health Canada didn't accept that reduction until the 1990's.
She says there is no food safety basis to justify a difference between how pork is cooked in Canada versus the U.S. and is hopeful Health Canada will be more expedient in reviewing the U.S. recommendation this time around.