Long days, hot temperatures and family gatherings will soon return to America’s backyards. Also returning are traditions, like roasting a whole pig. Roasting a pig requires a lot of planning before, during and after the meal to ensure food safety. Over the past few years, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks associated with pig roasts in several states.
When purchasing a pig, here are some tips:
- Obtain your pig from a reputable supplier.
- Have the supplier wrap it in plastic to contain the juices.
- Use ice to maintain temperature during transport and until it is time to cook.
- If you can’t keep it refrigerated or on ice, pick it up just before you are ready to cook.
FSIS reminds cooks to follow the four food safety steps:
- Clean: Anything that comes into contact with the whole pig should be washed with hot soapy water afterward (hands, utensils and surfaces).
- Separate: Use different cutting boards when preparing meat, vegetables and ready-to eat-food. Don’t cross-contaminate.
- Cook: FSIS recommends that pork products be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F with a 3-minute rest time. Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in several places. Don’t have a food thermometer? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to get a free one. Serve the meat you carve within 1-2 hours.
- Chill: After you have served your guests, remove remaining portions from the cooked pig, pack them into shallow containers, and refrigerate within 1-2 hours.
For questions about food safety, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.