No need to overcook pork, the USDAadvised earlier this week. The agency lowered its recommended cooking temperature to 145 degrees from 160 degrees, to a round of applause from chefs. But don’t start thinking this lower-cooking-temperature advice holds up across the board.
The safe minimum temperature varies by food. Here’s a quick primer, from the appropriately titled USDA brochure “Is It Done Yet,” on how high internal temperatures should be to kill bacteria.
-Steak and roasts: 145 degrees.
-Ground beef: 160 degrees.
-Fish: 145 degrees
-Egg dishes (which can pose the risk of salmonella): 160 degrees
-Chicken breasts and whole poultry: 165 degrees.
Granted, the brochure is a bit out of date. It still recommends 160 as the minimum for pork. The official announcement from the USDA makes clear that that seems excessive, but it does call for a “rest time” after the meat reaches that temperature.
Keep in mind these are standards for the internal temperature, not necessarily the setting on the oven or grill. The USDA states in its brochure: