Some religions forbid eating pork and using products from pork for any purpose, because they consider the pork meat as unclean. Why is this so? Are there any other reasons except the religious beliefs that we should be aware of?
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These religions might be on to something, and many experiments are being performed to back up the belief that the pork meat is “unclean”.
Pigs eat almost everything, including feces, urine, harmful growths and spoiled substances. Their digestive system cannot remove properly these substances, since the whole process of digestions lasts only 4 hours. This way the poisons ingested get stored in the fat cells and the organs of the pig.
Costumer reposts had an examination, showing that 69% of crude pork meat was spoiled with dangerous microorganisms called Yersinia enteroclitica which cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, fever and gastrointestinal problems.
Even more hazardous is ground pork. Additional tests on ground pork showed positive results for various dangerous components like the medication called ractopamine, banned in Europe and China. The organisms found in pork meat were resilient to many anti-microbials, making the treatment very difficult and dangerous.
Pigs are also hosts to many different parasites and infections which can be transmitted to people directly, like:
- Menangle infection: causing migraines, chills and fever, and sweating
- Trichinella: parasite which causes myalgia, fever, malaise and edema
- Taenia solium: intestinal parasite which causes loss of appetite and tissue contamination.
- Hepatitis E: viral irritation causing nausea, weariness and jaundice or, when more serious- cirrhosis and fibrosis
Studies show that, if cooked properly, the danger of these parasites can be decreased, but the temperature for killing them, when it comes to pork, is still not ensured.
If you decide to continue eating pork, take the following precaution measures:
- While cooking pork, use thermometer to ensure the best temperature which will destroy the hazardous microorganisms- higher than 160°F for ground pork and 145°F for entire pork.
- Buy only confirmed natural pork from pigs raised with no medications, anti-toxins or ractopamine.
- Keep the crude pork and its juice separate from the vegetable.
- After eating crude pork meat, wash your hands.
- Look for pork meat which is USDA Process Verified that “No anti-infection agents were used”.
- Some marks on the package can be misdirecting, like “natural” which doesn`t say anything how the pig was raised or if antibiotics were used. Certain cases, like the one with Sprouts pork sold in Arizona and California or the Farmland brand pork sold in few states, were reported to the USDA in 2012 for some antimicrobial residue. The cases were being processes, and when we last checked in November, the Sprouts had eliminated the contaminated packages from their shelves.
Organic pasture raised pork
Eating pork from organic farm is slightly better option, but there are still some concerns. Pigs raised in the field are not immune and cannot fight Trichinella spiralis, the so-called “pig worm”. This bacteria can only be destroyed with cooking, but only if it`s cooked properly, on high enough temperature.
Consuming pasture raised pork may only be justified from empathetic point of view, because the animals spend their life in the open and free, unlike CAFO pig which spend their short lives in miserable conditions, on cement and in steel crates.
Nevertheless, moderate consummation of pork may be OK, but still, there are great chances that you will end up getting some disease from this meat.
Pressing health concerns
Almost all of the pigs in the US are raised in factory farms, meaning they`ve never run, played outside in the sun or inhaled fresh air. They are kept inside, confined in crates, fed with food combined with medications and anti-infection agents, in order to stay alive and develop faster.
The space they live in is so small, that they sleep and eat in their feces, vomit and urine. About ¼ of these pigs are infected with mange, which is agonizing for them and is not treated.
The gasses produced from the feces and urine, like ammonia, can cause lung problems. 80% of all pigs raised in the US have pneumonia during the slaughter season.
All of this is taking place away from the eyes of the public, the torment of these animals, the inhumane living conditions, and it continues endlessly.