Hepatitis E

Last updated:
13 November 2014
Following some consumers’ concern about hepatitis E in pork, the following advice is available.

Consumers should continue to follow FSA cooking advice which is that all whole cuts of pork, pork products and offal should be thoroughly cooked until steaming hot throughout, the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

One study has suggested heating pork to a core internal temperature of 71°C for 20 minutes is necessary to completely inactivate the virus, however we do not know enough about the levels of hepatitis E virus present in pork more generally to say whether cooking for that long is necessary. Furthermore, cooking under these conditions may not be practical because of the effect on the quality of the meat. There is very little information available on the survival of hepatitis E virus in relation to cooking and not enough evidence to justify a change to FSA advice.

The FSA will shortly be commissioning further research to assess the impact of different time and temperature combinations on the survival of the virus in meat during cooking. The FSA would seek advice from the independent Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food before making any changes to our current cooking advice concerning pork and pork products.