My brother, Alastair, is a chef and maintains that there is a pervasive myth about pork cookery:
"It is generally held that you should cook pork well done, to deal with the nasties within. Some people will talk about worms and all sorts. The parasite in question that tainted pork and got its reputation is called Trichinella:
Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. Infection occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous (meat-eating) animals but may also occur in domestic pigs.Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. Infection occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous (meat-eating) animals but may also occur in domestic pigs. [Centre for Disease Control (US)]
Most common cause of poisoning in US people is by eating bears or cougar jerky and other redneck wierdness. Since farmers have long finished feeding rubbish to their pigs, the rate of incidence in pork is negligible. It still appears in US pork at a very low level. The UK is approaching the EU to be declared a Trichinella free zone, but even Harold McGee suggests the risk is minimal in the US, and cites that Trichinella dies at about 57C. Given that the parasite isn't killed by salting or curing, shouldn't we be avoiding Parma, Iberian, Sereno, Denhay etc?
The British Pig Executive gives the following advice...
MLC recommends that for whole pork cuts and joints,chefs offer customers the choice of their pork cooked rare, medium or well done, just as they would with other red meats as long as the meat has been seared
on the outside to kill any bacteria.
However rolled joints, sausages, burgers and other processed pork products must be well cooked at their centre to kill off any bacteria that might have found their way there during preparation or manufacture centre of the meat reaches one of the following temperatures for at least the time given:
60°C for 45 mins
65°C for 10 mins
70°C for 2 mins
75°C for 30 secs
80°C for 6 secs
Pork has one benefit of having a very short muscle fabric, so when overcooked, it does actually become tender as the fibres break, but it's not as nice as perfectly denatured protein, still holding it's moistures. Mind you, rare pork is not nice.
A huge majority of chefs seen in the public domain are still recommending cooking this amazing meat well done, thus missing out on the wonders of truly succulent pork, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who won't suggest a temperature for cooking below 70C in his River Cottage Meat Book, (yet still makes cured air dried hams?). Catch sight if you can though of Gordon Ramsay's beautiful pink-blushed loin roast in his Sunday Lunch book. Tell me that's reached 70C...I think not.
John Campbell suggests the following for a small piece of meat and I'd recommend this method for many types of lean pork.
Preheat your oven to 90C. Take a piece of loin or tenderloin, season and sear it on all sides. Place in a roasting bag, or wrap in film or foil, and place in the oven. Cook it to an internal temperature of 64C. Rest in its bag. Carve and eat.
Identical handling to beef and lamb. Long live the temperature probe.