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What Are the Dangers of Raw Pork?

by Susan Paretts

Raw pork can contaminate your kitchen if not handled properly and if you eat undercooked pork, it can make you sick. While most pork is free from the parasite Trichinella, the raw meat does contain potentially harmful foodborne bacteria that can only be killed by cooking it to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't Eat Raw Pork

A 2013 study conducted by Consumer Reports found that 69 percent of raw pork samples taken from around the U.S. tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica, a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Other types of dangerous bacteria, including Salmonella, were also found in some of the pork samples. To kill any bacteria or parasites in raw pork, cook it to an internal temperature of 145 F and cook ground pork to 160 F. Allow the meat to rest for three minutes before serving. The juices should run clear in properly cooked meat, but always check it with a meat thermometer to be sure.

Cross-Contamination in the Kitchen

Wash your hands with soap and hot water after handling raw pork and wipe down surfaces it has touched with a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach mixed with 8 cups water. Clean cutting boards, utensils and plates that have touched raw pork in the dishwasher or in hot, soapy water by hand. Keep raw pork away from vegetables, cooked meats and other foods to avoid cross-contaminating them. If you marinated your pork throw out the marinade or boil it before using it to baste the meat while it cooks.

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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.