It’s no secret that many religions consider the pig to be an unclean animal. For those who don’t follow the faiths in question, it probably seems a little bit silly. But is there something to the idea that the pig is unclean?
In the wild, pigs are scavengers. They’ll eat just about anything, including feces, rotting food, carcasses, and they’ve even been found to chew tumors off of one another and eat them. The digestive system of the pig is rather impressive, but it can’t always filter out the toxic stuff the pig eats. The pig’s digestive system completes the digesting of food in only 4 hours, so the toxins the pig eats are stored in its fat. Those toxins may be harmless to a piggy, but for us, it’s different.
According to a Consumer Reports investigation of 200 raw pork samples, 69% were contaminated, containing dangerous bacteria like Yersinia enteroclitica, which causes extreme sickness. Ground pork is even worse, containing other contaminants like ractopamine, which is a controversial drug banned in China and Europe.
According to the report: “We found salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, or listeria monocytogenes, more common causes of foodborne illness, in 3 to 7 percent of samples. And 11 percent harbored enterococcus, which can indicate fecal contamination and can cause problems such as urinary tract-infections.”
Pigs are also host to numerous parasites which can be directly transmitted to humans, such as Taenia solium, an intestinal parasite that causes infection and loss of appetite and viruses like Hepatitis E and Trichinella. Improperly cooked pork can expose you to all of these health problems.
According to Consumer Reports, if you are going to consume pork:
- When cooking pork, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches the proper internal temperature, which kills potentially harmful bacteria: at least 145° F for whole pork and 160° F for ground pork.
- Keep raw pork and its juices separate from other foods, especially those eaten raw, such as salad.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
- Choose pork and other meat products that were raised without drugs. One way to do that is to buy certified organic pork, from pigs raised without antibiotics or ractopamine.
- Look for a clear statement regarding antibiotic use. “No antibiotics used” claims with a USDA Process Verified shield are more reliable than those without verification. Labels such as “Animal Welfare Approved” and “Certified Humane” indicate the prudent use of antibiotics to treat illness.
- Watch out for misleading labels. “Natural” has nothing to do with antibiotic use or how an animal was raised. We found unapproved claims, including “no antibiotic residues,” on packages of Sprouts pork sold in California and Arizona, and “no antibiotic growth promotants” on Farmland brand pork sold in several states. We reported those to the USDA in June 2012, and the agency told us it’s working with those companies to take “appropriate actions.” When we checked in early November, Sprouts had removed the claim from its packages.
Are you going to stop eating pork? Why or why not?
Source: Simple Organic Life