Cooking School Secrets: Pink Pork Myth Buster

Undercooked Pork = Trichinosis. I've known that forever. In fact, this lesson was embedded so deeply in my hard drive that I turned my back on "the other white meat" for decades.

But the draw of Dim Sum in San Francisco's Chinatown was too strong. I've indulged often, but until a few weeks ago, I could be seen examining each delectable bite closely before placing it in my mouth, often leaving any pieces that appeared to be cooked anything less than well done on my plate.

Here's a valuable lesson I've learned in culinary school: Those days are gone. Pork that's cooked medium-rare is safe to eat.

Turns out that changes in feeding practices (pigs can't be fed raw meat garbage) and legislation monitoring the conditions in which pigs are raised have virtually eliminated the spread of trichinosis. And, if that's not enough to convince you, here's the clincher: the trichinosis parasite dies at 138 degrees, far below the 170 degrees that was originally believed.

So, if all you've eaten for years is overcooked, dry pork, try some that's still a bit pink and juicy. It won't kill you to live a little.


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