I chanced upon this rather amazing claim regarding pig meat: https://www.facebook.com/sulaiman.yakub.1/posts/508707529286280. [screenshot] Some allegedly "scientific" support is provided here.
I just can't be true, was my first thought. I understand biological processes and physiology well enough to reject such claims outright. However, I also undertook some research (1 hour, total) and here are my conclusions. People are welcome to add/question, through comments.
MY CONCLUSION: Pork is AS HEALTHY AS ANY OTHER MEAT. Make sure you cook it well (all meats should be cooked well – unless you are having sushi, in which case the feed and care of the animal should have been very carefully organised). And eat in moderation.
1) A pig is a real garbage gut. It will eat anything including urine, excrement, dirt, decaying animal flesh, maggots, or decaying vegetables. They will even eat the cancerous growths off other pigs or animals.
EATING FARM GROWN PIGS IS PERFECTLY FINE
Farm fed pigs are provided healthy food. (When hungry, cattle also eat everything, so also chicken. As a rule, one should avoid animals raised in toxic dumps or human waste dumps.
2) The meat and fat of a pig absorbs toxins like a sponge. Their meat can be 30 times more toxic than beef or venison.
PIGS ARE MORE LIKE US THAN OTHER ANIMALS WE EAT
Pigs are like humans ("Pigs are very much like humans," says Stan Casteel, associate professor in the University of Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine. He's talking physiology, not necessarily manners). Toxins can get into their blood just as they can get into our blood.
Because their absorption system is similar to ours, they can be used to detect which site is toxic. ("There are about 250 different species of lead," says Mark Doolan, a geologist in the EPA's Kansas City office, who is leading part of the cleanup program. The toxicity of the lead, it turns out, varies with its type, the kind of soil that it is found in, and other factors. "You could eat a pound of some of this stuff and it wouldn't absorb into your body at all," Doolan says. Other types could prove deadly, even in trace amounts. The key is to determine which types of lead, under which conditions, are most likely to be absorbed into the human blood stream. )
Pigs are fed hundreds of samples, and their blood tested. This would suggest that it is important to not eat pigs whose diet is not controlled. Having said that, the pigs eaten by tribals in Assam, for instance, are perfectly safe, since there are no toxins in that natural environment. So go out and eat pork that is well grown or grown in natural (not human) habitats.
3) When eating beef or venison, it takes 8 to 9 hours to digest the meat so what little toxins are in the meat are slowly put into our system and can be filtered by the liver. But when pork is eaten, it takes only 4 hours to digest the meat. We thus get a much higher level of toxins within a shorter time.
FALSE: NO ISSUES WITH DIGESTION OF PORK
The human digestive system is perfectly capable of dealing with all meats. Properly marinated and cooked pork has been tested and found to be perfectly healthy. In fact, I was reading the other day a report that suggests bacon provides particular health benefits to mothers. Of course, everything must be consumed in moderation.
4) Unlike other mammals, a pig does not sweat or perspire. Perspiration is a means by which toxins are removed from the body. Since a pig does not sweat, the toxins remain within its body and in the meat.
FALSE: NO ISSUES WITH TOXICITY
Neither cows nor pigs – not most mammals – have many sweat glands. Humans have a unique – and relatively recent – adaptation that makes us the only ape that can run a long distance marathon. But sweating is mainly for COOLING the body, not for elimination of toxins. Pigs do have perfectly fine kidneys and liver, to clear their body of toxins.
5) Pigs and swine are so poisonous that you can hardly kill them with strychnine or other poisons.
FALSE: PIGS REQUIRE LESS STRYCHNINE TO KILL, THAN HUMANS
Strychnine is highly toxic to most domestic animals. Its oral LD50 in dogs, cattle, horses, and pigs is 0.5–1 mg/kg, and in cats is 2 mg/kg. (Humans require MORE Strychnine to be killed (1–2 mg/kg).
6) Farmers will often pen up pigs within a rattlesnake nest because the pigs will eat the snakes, and if bitten they will not be harmed by the venom.
MAYBE, BUT THE COOKED PORK IS PERFECTLY FINE, EVEN THEN
Wild pigs are resilient to the venom of many snakes, including rattlesnakes and will harass and even kill and eat all sorts of venomous snakes. (e.g. seee this).
Why is this so? The domestic pig has been found to have convergently evolved amino acid replacements in their nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which are known to confer resistance to alpha-neurotoxins in hedgehogs. Whether the pig may be considered so is still uncertain, though early studies show endogenous resistance in pigs tested against neurotoxins. Though it has been thought that the pig's subcutaneous layer of fat protects it against snake venom, most venoms pass easily through vascular fat layers, making this unlikely to contribute to its ability to resist venoms. [Source] So, it appears that along with certain animals, the pig might have some innate resistance to snake venom.
But assume a hog or pig was bitten by a snake. Would that make the meat harmful to humans? No. Venom is only effective if it gets directly into the human bloodstream – through injection via (not through) a snake's fangs. Eating venom (proteases or other enzymes) is harmless (since disulfide bonds in sulfur containing aminoacids are denatured – broken down – inside our stomach into harmless components). We can safely suck out snake/wasp venom with our mouth. Cooking also reduces the potency of venoms [Source: Twenty-eight snake venoms were examined for the presence of heat-stable (100 degrees C, 5 min) hemorrhagic toxins. Heating drastically reduced the activity of all venoms except that of Crotalus ruber and Crotalus molossus molossus. With azocoll as substrate, upon heating, all except five venoms lost essentially all of their activity. Heated venoms from snakes in the Agkistrodon genus (except for Agkistrodon blomhoffi blomhoffi, an Asian snake) retained activity on azocoll, and this activity tended to correlate better with hemorrhagic activity of the venom than did proteolytic activity on casein.]
In general, therefore, there is no likelihood of imbibing potent venom into one's blood even from cooked pork that has been prepared from wildly grown pigs/boars. However, it is good practice to eat only farm grown pork.
7) When a pig is butchered, worms and insects take to its flesh sooner and faster than to other animal's flesh. In a few days the swine flesh is full of worms.
Pork is often hung for days (just like beef) for tenderizing. With preservatives it lasts for years (salami). Leaving any meat in unsanitary conditions will make it harmful. DON'T keep it out for days without proper care.
8) Swine and pigs have over a dozen parasites within them, such as tapeworms, flukes, worms, and trichinae. There is no safe temperature at which pork can be cooked to ensure that all these parasites, their cysts, and eggs will be killed.
YES, BUT COOKED PORK IS PERFECTLY FINE, EVEN THEN
If you eat pigs that feed in the drain, AND don't cook it, you could get some diseases. But if you eat farm grown animals, and cook them above 75 -80ºC, you will be perfectly fine. I've not come across pork sushi (beef sushi does exist) but I'd avoid pork sushi.
9) Pig meat has twice as much fat as beef. A 3 oz T bone steak contains 8.5 grams of fat; a 3 oz pork chop contains 18 grams of fat. A 3 oz beef rib has 11.1 grams of fat; a 3 oz pork spare rib has 23.2 grams of fat.
DON'T EAT THE FAT! EAT LEAN PORK
No one eats pork with all the fat that comes along with it. Lean pork is the way to go, and lean pork can have less fat than comparable meats (http://www.porkbeinspired.com/nutrition/compare-pork/ or http://www.thepigsite.com/recipes/nutrition.php)
10) Cows have a complex digestive system, having four stomachs. It thus takes over 24 hours to digest their vegetarian diet causing its food to be purified of toxins. In contrast, the swine's one stomach takes only about 4 hours to digest its foul diet, turning its toxic food into flesh.
FALSE COMPARISON, POINTLESS
The reason why a cow needs 4 stomachs is because it eats cellulose which is like wood. Al toxins are cleared in the liver and kidneys. The also has one liver and set of kidneys.
11) The swine carries about 30 diseases which can be easily passed to humans. This is why God commanded that we are not even to touch their carcase (Leviticus 11:8).
Do Muslims eat sushi? If so, why this strange reason? Cooking is the key.
12) The trichinae worm of the swine is microscopically small, and once ingested can lodge itself in our intestines, muscles, spinal cord or the brain. This results in the disease trichinosis. The symptoms are sometimes lacking, but when present they are mistaken for other diseases, such as typhoid, arthritis, rheumatism, gastritis, MS, meningitis, gall bladder trouble, or acute alcoholism.
Do Muslims eat sushi? If so, why this strange reason? Cooking is the key.
13) The pig is so poisonous and filthy, that nature had to prepare him a sewer line or canal running down each leg with an outlet in the bottom of the foot. Out of this hole oozes pus and filth his body cannot pass into its system fast enough. Some of this pus gets into the meat of the pig.
As someone wrote somewhere: Dissect a pig fetus, look at a factual diagram of a pig's anatomy, or even study a live pig and you'd see how ridiculously wrong this is. Do Muslims not study anatomy?