Pork — A Three-Part Series to Knowledge Every Consumer Should Have
Pork has such notoriety that consumers choose to outright ban it from their households. But, how bad is it for you? We will spend the next three articles solving myths and introducing knowledge you probably did not know about pork.
Myth One: Pork has worms!
One of the most common questions I get from people is “I saw someone post a video of them pouring Coke over a piece of pork and worms come out from it. Is this true?” First of all, what I want to ask you is “have you even tried it at home?” Coke and pork are available everywhere. All you need to do is buy both and perform the experiment yourself and come up with a conclusion. Interestingly, I have personally done this on pork from three different sources. One from the wet market, another from supermarket, and the third from hormone and antibiotic free pork. I poured coke over all three items and left it for a total of three hours as suggested by these videos. I will not post a link because I want everyone to forget about it.
Results were negative. Nothing came out of any pieces of meat.
Myth Two: Pigs Eat Leftovers
This is the twenty-first century. The average pig has a more well-controlled diet plan than you and me. Formulae are created to make sure pigs grow up healthy and strong, and every farm employs their own ratio according to what breed of pigs are bred in the farm. No one wants to eat pigs that are sick throughout their entire life.
Myth Three: Pork is Smelly Because of Growth Hormones
They are smelly because of poor storage methods and facilities. It has got nothing to do with growth hormones.
Myth Four: Imported Pork is Supreme
Pffft…please…Growth hormones are used widely across the world. You would think that western countries do not use them. You are dead wrong. They are just capable of controlling administration. So, when you purchase that piece of pork that says “imported from XYZ country”, you might want to keep the same standards you set for local farms.
Do not assume that everything coming from a western country is better.
I have seen enough to make a statement like this. There are local brands and farms that do not use growth hormones and have very strict policies on antibiotics. This even applies to consumers in Eupore and the States.
Myth Five: Pork is Pork is Pork
If pork is pork is pork, you would not go for Iberico, Kurobuta or Mangalitsa(sheep looking pigs) pork. There is a reason why Iberian hams have the Protected Designation of Origin sign. They are bred is an extremely specific way, producing highly marbled and fragrant pork. It is seriously heavenly(and expensive) and a little unhealthy over long periods of consumption. Which leads us to myth six.
Myth Six: Pork is unhealthy
This, unfortunately, has some truth to it. This ain’t no myth. Consuming too much pork with fat content leads to excessive weight gain and deteriorating health. However, there is always lean pork for those who still want to consume pork. I have met body builders who only consume lean pork when they crave for it.
Myth Seven: Preservatives in Sausages and Bacon Causes Cancer
This is a very tricky answer that no one dares to openly discuss. I personally believe it is because there is a lot of semi-proven evidence used to demonise preservatives in meat.
Here is my take. Based on my personal observations and records from Sanbanto, Malaysians on average only consume bacon two meals per week. A meal usually only consists of less than 60 grams of uncooked produce. By the time it is cooked, it shrinks by 30%. In total you consume 84 grams per week. A source I read reckons that only when you consume more than 560 grams per week over many years, will there be adverse effects. In conclusion, I would safely say Asians would die of other causes before we die from overconsumption of preserved meats. But if you want the live-long-and-prosper life, then go ahead and stop eating preserved foods. This means preserved fruits and vegetables too.
Myth Eight: Market Meat is Fresher Compared to Supermarket Meats
This boils down to what ‘fresh’ means. I will give a technical breakdown of what fresh means in the next article, but essentially you want to enjoy the tenderness, fragrance, and juices when you savour each bite. Obviously, you do not want it to stink. A piece of meat could be blast frozen or cryo-frozen, thawed, and still be in perfect condition. The other form of fresh, which is what most consumers understand, is that the animal is sold on the same day it is slaughtered.
The best is when the animal is slaughtered, chilled and sold on the same day. Neither a wet market nor the supermarket can fulfill both criterion. So neither are fresh. Surprised?
Here is why…
Supermarkets have large processing and logistics networks, thus, making it almost impossible to perform same day delivery to all of their outfits.
Markets have the advantage of same day delivery but lack the equipment to store meat in a chilled condition, which allows bacteria to breed very quickly and deteriorate meat quality. Again, more details in the next article.
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A little bit about the writer…
I absolutely love pork and have worked a career in the pork industry. I write occasionally because there is so little information about the food and beverage industry in Malaysia. I hope to tell stories of what goes on behind closed doors after business ends, and my journey from a Mechanical engineer graduate, to a butcher, to a home cook and now an entrepreneur in the food and beverage industry in Malaysia. Hopefully the reader, you, would gain some knowledge. Otherwise, perhaps entertainment through my articles.