Until last week, the USDA had stuck to the dated belief that pork must be cooked to 160ºF to be considered safe for consumption. But that's changed for the better, with the USDA now accepting 145ºF as an acceptably safe temperature of pork doneness. "We found it was perfectly acceptable and that 160 was probably overkill," says Elisabeth Hagen, USDA's undersecretary for food safety.
The public perception for the need to cooked pork to 160º was due to trichinosis, a once common parasitic disease that is no longer a problem in commercially raised pork. However, Hagen says that salmonella, not trichinosis, was "really the pathogen that we worry about the most in pork, so we had to be fully confident that salmonella would be killed."
But experts in the industry don't think the USDA's new stance is going to change the public's expectations on pork doneness anytime soon. GigaChef's own Brad Barnes, CMC was quoted by USAToday saying, "My wife's family, they're all Bronx Italians. They won't really care what USDA says. It's going to need to be done — and done would be no traces of pink."