Grass-fed beef good, grass-fed pork..not so much?
There was a recent discussion on MDA (in comments in an article) about this, and what I got from it is that grass-fed pork may be problematic, because when the pigs are grazing on natural earth, they have a much higher chance of digging into the dirt and picking up parasites, whereas factory farm pigs are on concrete and there is no exposure to those kinds of things.
Is there any truth to this at all? Should we be avoiding grass-fed pork? This was in light of the recent news that the USDA now says it's OK for pork to be cooked up to only 145 degrees. Does everyone here feel safe cooking grass-fed pork to 145F?
145F is the highest temperature that is listed as safe by the USDA. If you keep the meat at a fixed temperature for a longer time even temperatures as low as 120F can be safe (takes 21 hours though): Trichinosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fish carries similar parasites and is more frequently consumed raw, so worrying about pork seems inappropriate to me.
Wild pigs don't live on grass. They might browse it, but they will eat twigs, leaves, mushrooms, roots, rotten fruit - honestly there's not much a pig won't eat. I buy critters from the local farms every week (we sell it in our store). Grass fed/finished lamb, beef, and bison; free-range chickens and turkeys; and free range pigs. The two farms that supply our pigs supplement their browsing with feed made of vegetable trimmings (no potatoes, no meat) - in fact, we supply much of their weekly feed from our kitchen trimmings.
Pigs really will eat anything and can live on the roughest of foods.
But I don't know of any farmers who don't supplement their pigs' free range browsing because they wouldn't get a good yield on the animals.
And if you really think conventionally raised pigs are less likely to end up ingesting some truly nasty sh!t, you might want to visit one of those farms and see if you still feel that way afterward.
Last edited by brahnamin; 06-06-2011 at 02:40 PM.
Factory farms would like you to believe that their concrete raised pigs are 'clean' but it is not true. Pastured pigs do not have higher parasites. In fact, due to managed rotational grazing, better health and co-grazing with poultry our hundreds of pastured pigs have lower parasite levels.
And yes, you can cook your pasture raised grass-fed pork to 145°F. It's the new recommendation from the USDA. Feel fine and enjoy.