Is it safe to eat rare pork?

Some time ago, I saw an article in my local paper that said it was now safe to eat medium rare or even rare pork. I haven’t heard any official confirmation of this, however. Has anyone here heard this? To what temperature does pork need to be cooked now? How do I convince those for whom I cook that I’m not trying to kill them slowly with trichinosis?

Also, does anyone know how rare pork tastes? I’ve never had pork unless it was cooked to death.

The only rare pork I’ve had was grilled pork loin. It tasted pretty mild, since that’s the nature of the cut, but it was good–it had that “grilled pork” flavor to it, but was tender and relatively juicy. This was at a local high-end restaurant, so I’m assuming there’s now some approval from the appropriate governing boards about rare pork. Of course, I’d still recommend you get your pork from a good source.

The main reason in times past was the danger of trichinosis, a parasitical infection that was spread by pork from pigs that had been fed garbage, especially garbage containing raw meat from some other animal that had the parasite.

From the Centers for Disease Control

They recommend cooking **all ** meat to 170 degrees F. Of course if you eat rare pork you run the same risks you do when eating any other rare meats. Freezing will also kill the nasty buggers.

First, yes, I do believe that I saw something a year or two ago about the FDA saying that effectively there is no trichinosis in the US pork supply. That doesn’t cover pork any where else, however. Frankly, it’s not a huge worry, to my mind. The thing is that while I’d have no objection to rare pork, I’ve never had it, nor seen the need for it - there are many ways to cook pork that leave it nice and juicy.

Keep in mind, too, that trichinosis isn’t like salmonella or e coli. If you ingest some salmonella or e coli, assuming it doesn’t outright kill you, you’re sick as a dog for awhile but then you’re over it. With trichinosis, if you ingest some and you pick up the parasite, there’s a significant risk that it does permanent damage to your heart muscle. Even if it only gets into less critical muscles, you don’t get over it.

This is interesting from MLS’s post:
“The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs, commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products.”

If part of the reason for the decline is public awareness of the danger, will the numbers start to go up again now that people are eating rare pork?

I wouldn’t eat it rare (it’s kind of squishy if undercooked) but medium pork is fantastic. No longer do you have to cook it to 170˚, but I wouldn’t eat it bloody.

I had some grilled pork chops that were delicious, cooked to 140˚ last week. I’m not dead yet. :smiley:

Cooking pork to 170˚ is nuts in my book (unless you’re doing pulled pork, where cooking to this temperature or above over a period of 8-12 hours is okay.) Generally, I cook pork roast to about 145-155˚ . It’s still slightly pink inside (the equivalent of medium in beef), moist and yummy.

I’ve had raw pork before as well. I’m not particularly fond of the raw pork taste, unlike beef tartare, which tastes pretty good.

I knew a guy who’d gotten trich. while working in a pizza joint and snacking on the raw sausage. Just from that I probly won’t be eating any raw pork.

Anecdotally, I’ve been eating raw meat of all kinds for years and I’ve never gotten sick. It may be that I am the luckiest person on the face of the earth, but it seems to me that if it were the big public health scourge that it’s made out to be that I would have been laid out numerous times by now.

BTW, raw bacon is absolutely divine if you take the slices and cut them into a more manageable size first.

eeew! raw bacon!? To each his own, I guess.

I like a steak a bit rare in the middle, but if you’ve ever had, or observed anyone who has had, food poisoning of any kind, it can change your mind on some things really quickly. I hope your luck does not run out.

Well, it’s been 10 years, and other than food at restaurants that I can’t convince them to serve rare, cookouts where the cooked food has some seriously good flavor, or the vastly overcooked meat that I eat at home (read: medium), I almost always eat my meat raw.

Am I living on borrowed time? Perhaps. But I’d venture to say that I’ve eaten well over a ton of meat in my lifetime so far and out of that at least half has been raw.

Oh, and try some salted raw chicken breast. Yum. :slight_smile:

Have you tried raw ground beef, Airman? That’s the only raw meat that looks kinda good to me.

I think it’s the most dangerous too, since it gets mixed in big batches so if one part is contaminated, a big batch gets contaminated.

Used to eat raw ground round at parties in Wisconsin (it was a commonly served party snack there during the holidays - raw ground round, onion slices, and cocktail rye) - good stuff. I never remember it lasting long enough sitting out a room temp to be of concern.

They’ll eat anything raw on Iron Chef. Turkey battle? Turkey sashimi. Eeeeew.

Just the other day I had about a half pound. That’s really the only kind I’m even a bit leery about.

What’s that German stuff made from raw ground beef with seasonings and other stuff? That sounded pretty good to me too, when I heard of it.

About thirty years ago I had a German landlady. We bumped into each other at the meatcase, looking at the pork, and she reminisced about how as a child, watching her mother grinding pork to make sausage. She’d filch bits to eat and she missed that since moving to the U.S. I said that I’d probably be psychologically unable to do that. I wonder if she’s picked up the habit again.


Cooking pork to a medium or medium-rare is spot on; trichinosis is destroyed at a temperature of approximately 140 F. Cite and cite etc.

Trichinosis has been pretty much eliminated from the US food supply; I think that the biggest threat nowadays is from eating underdone wild game. Bears are especially notorious for harboring trich.

There’s the matter of texture, though. Medium or medium-rare pork is OK, but I find raw pork to be unpleasantly “slimy” and soft in texture.

That’s exactly the same context in which I had raw pork. It was after a pig kill, and they were seasoning the meat to make sausages. To check the seasoning, we would just take a pinch of raw pork (which was actually still a bit warm) and work from there.

Revtim - I assume you’re talking about beefsteak tartare. I don’t think it’s particularly German — the name itself is French — and it can be found all around Europe. At my local supermarket they sell ground beef especially for this purpose. It is pretty yummy.

Plus the Germans also have a raw pork spread called mett or mettwurst.

Plus, I don’t really consider bacon “raw” as it’s normally cured and smoked. For me, anything smoked doesn’t qualify as raw. I’ve always eaten smoked sausage without cooking. It’s awesome especially if you get kabanos/cabanossi Polish sausages, which are just a bit thicker than Slim Jims. You hang 'em in the basement near the heater and let them dry for a week or two. Aw… yummy.