The love of pork is a feeling known on both sides of the Pacific. While Americans are indulging a bacon craze, the Japanese are devouring American pork, importing over 117 million pounds in May 2013. A five-member delegation of Japanese pork buyers recently visited Minnesota to see hog farms and interact with farmers.

Kuniaki Hiromatsu, a member of the delegation, was impressed with what he saw. Through a translator, he explained that the price of meat is important because pork is a commodity, but higher-quality pork will bring in higher profits for his butcher shops.

The Japanese culture prefers less well-cooked meat, and the delegation was delighted to learn that American pork could be cooked at less than well done.

Since American hogs are raised indoors, it’s virtually impossible for them to contract diseases, which high-temperature cooking would eliminate. For this reason, the federal government lowered the temperature at which pork should be cooked from 160 degrees to 145 degrees.

The delegation responded well to the presentation, but, while Japan is already the top importer of U.S. pork, officials won’t know whether this trip increased sales for some time.

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