Here's the situation: I had 2 meals planned for the week: one with ground pork, and one with pork loin. Today I was cooking the meal that was supposed to use the ground pork, but I accidentally put the pork loin on the stove instead. Realizing my mistake, I immediately took the pan off the heat, removed the pork loin, and bagged it up and put it in the fridge. I continued my cooking with the ground pork and all went well enough there. Overall, the pork was cooking on the hot pan for about a minute.

The question is, is this pork loin safe to eat tomorrow? All the information I see, including USDA guidelines, says no, it is not safe to partially cook pork, refrigerate it, and then continue cooking it the next day because it creates an environment ideal for bacterial growth. The problem I have with this information is that in my situation, the pork was cooking for a very short amount of time. It has a small change in color at the bottom, but it is not much. The context for other people asking this seems to be from people who want to cook it something like halfway through and then finish it the next day, which is not the situation I'm in.

What is the cutoff? Is the pork unsafe to eat the moment you put it on the stove and then take it off and refrigerate it? Could it last even one second? Essentially, would this minute of cooking be enough time for the pork to reach the "danger zone" and start growing bacteria? And if there were problems, would I be able to tell by things like the smell?



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