Food & Drink

Can You Eat Pink Pork?

Is sure that when you cut the pork and find out it is still pink then you may panic thinking of whether should you eat it or not. You don’t need to panic as this article will blow your mind in one click!

Here, besides answering your question, I am also going to cover the government guidelines as well as what safety measures should you take for eating pink pork. Everything you will know; so just sit calmly and find out!

 Why cooked pork is pink sometimes?

There are so many reasons your cooked pork might be pink. But, a certain reason for this may be probably you have undercooked your pork. But there are also several reasons.

It may be an issue with the duration of the cooking process. That means how long you have cooked your pork. If you overcook any protein it will turn grey or brown due to chemical reactions between amino acids on the proteins as they denature during cooking.

It could also be an issue with your specific cut of meat. The pork belly is less lean than the pork loin. So, it will have more myoglobin. It leads to the chances of the cooked meat staying pink.

Plus, the PH level, ingredients, and method of cooking can be attributable to the pink color of the cooked pork. Nitrates are one of the factors that cause color maintenance in foods. They are chemicals that are added to foods to enhance the color of the food. There occurs a chemical reaction between the nitrates and the proteins cause preventing oxygen to release. So, the food remains pink in color.

Lastly, it could be your cooking technique itself. If you are searing or grilling the meat at a high temperature then it probably has the chance of the protein denaturing more quickly. It will happen before the changing of the color of the meat resulting in pinker meat.

Is it safe to eat pink pork?

Some people mislead pink pork with undercooked pork. People who consume undercooked pork are more likely to contract trichinosis. It is caused if you have eaten undercooked meat with infected parasites.

Here are some common symptoms of this disease:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain

These are some of the symptoms of trichinosis. Some symptoms can last for a few weeks or a month. If the infection is heavier then the patient may catch heart and breathing problems. In some serious cases, it may lead to death also.

However, the USDA (United States department of agriculture) has recommended that the pork needs to be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 to kill bacteria inside the meat. Otherwise, it is not safe to eat.

So, following this guideline, people are used to cooking pork to the best level. Most importantly, eating undercooked pork can weaken your health due to Salmonella bacteria or E. coli.

Some of the symptoms of E. coli are as same as the symptoms of trichinosis. So, you need to cook well- a done level to protect your health.

Governmental regulations

Can you eat pink pork? The answer was simple “No”. You could only eat the pork that was grey, chewy, and tough. Luckily, for pork lovers, the United States Department of Agriculture has established a guideline.

This is an organization that is responsible for determining minimum safe food temperature. It has built recommendations for food-safe temperatures in 2011.

As per the recommendation, now pink pork is safe to consume when it reaches 1450F. The lower temperature means your pork will be delicious, juicy, and tender but also have an indication of the color.

Safe guidelines for eating pork

Trichinella spiralis is a type of parasite found in many carnivorous and omnivorous species around the earth including a pig.

 Animals can acquire this parasite after eating the meat of any animal whose meat contains this. The worm grows in the intestine of the host species and grows a larva that passes through the bloodstream. They trap the muscles of the hosts.

Eating undercooked pork that is containing this parasite leads to trichinosis. A food infection that causes food-infecting symptoms. Sometimes, may lead to death.

So, proper cooking is the most significant way to prevent trichinosis. In the past, it was recommended to cook the pork at an internal temperature of at least 1600F.

Now, USDA has recommended cooking pork chops, steaks, hams, and roasts to at least 1450F to prevent the disease. This helps the meat to maintain its moisture as well as flavor without drying it out.

Ground pork, organ meats, and mixtures made using ground pork; sausages still be cooked at least 1600F.

For all types of pork except ground pork, the USDA also recommended consuming the meat after at least 3 minutes from it being cooked properly.

 Here I am proving the recommended cooking temperature for all the common pork cuts:

Cuts of porkMinimum internal temperature
Pork chops Pork loinMedium: 145-1500F Medium –well: 155-1600F Well: 1600F
Pork ribs1450F
Pork leg1450F
Pork roast1450F
Ground pork1600F
Pork shoulder1450f

Most of the pork cuts must be cooked at least 1450F to ensure that your meat is safe to eat. Cooking some of the cuts of pork will enhance the texture and taste of the meat.

Using a digital meat thermometer is an effective way to check the internal temperature of the meat. It will also ensure that your meat is well-cooked throughout.


What will happen if I eat undercooked pork?

If you eat undercooked pork it may cause illness, such as trichinosis or food poisoning. Moreover, undercooked meat can result in you becoming infected with a variety of bacteria. Undercooked pork that contains harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella causes food poisoning.

Is pink pork as same as rare pork?

No, pink pork is not the same as rare pork. Just because your pork is pink; doesn’t mean it is rare pork. The pork needs to be cooked at least at 1450F and remain pink.

Any cut of pork that has been cooked under 1450F needs to be considered undercooked, regardless of what color it is.

Wrap Up:

Practicing food safety measures remains essential to prevent foodborne diseases. The best way to cook the meat is using a food thermometer. It will acknowledge how well your meat has been cooked. The color of the meat cannot be used as an indicator.

The pork can be pink but it is safe if the temperature reaches 1450F at the deepest part. The main aim here is to prevent trichinosis anymore.

Once the pork reaches that mentioned temperature, it is nicely cooked, and safe to eat regardless of what color the pink is!

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