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Cooking Meat? Check the New Recommended Temperatures

Posted by Diane Van, Manager, USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline in Health and Safety
Jun 22, 2020

Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer, then allow the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.

Cross posted from the FoodSafety.gov blog:

On May 24, USDA made some important changes in their recommended cooking temperatures for meats. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Pork: USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 ºF to 145 ºF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.
  • Cooking Whole Cuts of Other Meats: For beef, veal, and lamb cuts, the safe temperature remains unchanged at 145 ºF, but the department has added a three-minute rest time as part of its cooking recommendations.

What Cooking Temperatures Didn’t Change?

  • Ground Meats: This change does not apply to ground meats, including beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 ºF and do not require a rest time.
  • Poultry: The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, stays the same at 165 ºF.

What Is Rest Time?

“Rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria.

Why Did the Recommendations Change?

  • It’s just as safe to cook cuts of pork to 145 º F with a three-minute rest time as it is to cook them to 160 ºF, the previously recommended temperature, with no rest time. The new cooking recommendations reflect the same standards that the agency uses for cooked meat products produced in federally inspected meat establishments, which rely on the rest time of three minutes to achieve a safe product.
  • Having a single time and temperature combination for all meat will help consumers remember the temperature at which they can be sure the meat is safe to eat.

How Do You Use a Food Thermometer?

Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle. Start checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Be sure to clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.

To see where to place a food thermometer in different cuts of meat, see Thermometer Placement and Temperatures. For more information on cooking temperatures for all types of food, see the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart.

If you have questions about cooking meat, feel free to contact us at the Hotline (1-888-674-6854 toll-free) or online at Ask USDA.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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Comments

Ben Weaver
Oct 29, 2019

@Klacoste - thank you for your comment. Cook time will depend on how big the meatloaf is and what temperature your oven is set to. The higher the temperature, the quicker it’ll cook. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend setting your oven to a temperature no lower than 325°F. The only way to tell when your meatloaf is safe to eat is when the internal temperature reaches at least 160°F, measured with a food thermometer. I hope this helps!

Anonymous
May 22, 2020

Thermometer placement link doesn't work

Ben Weaver
May 26, 2020

Hello,

Thank you for alerting us. We have updated the link within the blog.

Mary Tomaszewski
Sep 18, 2020

Does this apply to pasture-raised pork, or only grain-fed pigs?

Sherri
Oct 20, 2020

Hello Mr. Weaver,
I’ve been reading comments from over the years, and the one recurring inquiry regarding overcooked meats by following USDA required internal temps of meat, have not been addressed. Why not? What is USDA’s remark about restaurants and independent living facilities offering MR and Rare cuts of meat as a norm? Another question I have, is whether a roast can really hold a temp of 135 for 36 min or 130 temp for 112 min? Looking for your feedback.

Cynthia Sager
Nov 06, 2020

How do the new guidelines "translate" into a recipe?

For example, for a 4 pound pork loin (bone in) how many minutes per pound would you cook the meat and at what temperature?

Thanks!!!

Philip
Feb 25, 2021

You mention 3 mins rest time after cooked. However, How long you need to actually maintain the cooking minimum temperature (not necessary cooked) before pathogens are considered killed. This is to assume that we want to have all our meats "precooked" before barbeque