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A safer pork chop

When it comes to summertime grilling, it doesn’t get much better than cooking a juicy Iowa pork chop over an open flame. And now, we don’t need to cook all the flavor out of our favorite pork cuts.

Today’s pork is safer than ever before because of modern farming practices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered the recommended internal cooking temperature for whole pork cuts to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, from 160 degrees previously.

Years ago, our grandmothers used to cook pork to shoe-leather consistency over fears about trichinosis, a parasitic illness.

Raising pigs indoors helps keep the animals separated from wildlife that can potentially carry trichinella. Indoor hog production also helps farmers control disease by reducing environmental stresses and by meeting the pigs’ needs for quality feed and clean water.

Also, when shopping at the meat counter, keep in mind that all meat and poultry products sold in the United States are required by law to be free of antibiotics, whether they are labeled “antibiotic free” or not.

All antibiotics used in food animals have been evaluated through a rigorous approval process by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to confirm their safety.

When antibiotics are used in livestock and poultry production, strict withdrawal periods must be followed before the animals are permitted into the food chain. In fact, it is illegal for animals with antibiotic residues to enter the food system. The USDA monitors meat and poultry to ensure strict compliance.

For a more in-depth look at antibiotic use in pig farming, visit the Pork Cares website.

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