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Why You Should Have Second Thoughts About Bacon

why-you-should-have-second-thoughts-about-bacon_300Many folks joke about bacon as a comfort food that is obviously not a healthy culinary choice. But a recent analysis of how pigs are processed has some uncomfortable facts that will give you second thoughts about the pork on your fork.

A report on AlterNet by Martha Rosenberg demonstrates that the unfortunate state of the pork industry may be producing unfortunate effects on your health. In her stomach-turning look at how pigs are raised and slaughtered, she outlines “six horrifying things about pork” that she urges consumers to consider before their next trip to the supermarket.

  1. Pigs with disease are entering the food chain. Due to the fact that pork plants can process almost 20,000 pigs a day, many animals that should be rejected are being cut up for pork chops and bacon. Rosenberg quotes a government report that warns about inspections that don’t spot “tuberculosis nodules embedded within the lymph nodes, parasites within the intestine, and inflamed or degenerated organs…”
  2. Pork slaughterhouses are filth-filled. Rosenberg reports that the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found things like “fecal contamination,” “cockroaches” and “fibrous fecal material” on pork production lines.
  3. Pig pollution. Pig processing plants give rise to huge lagoons of manure that contain feces, bacteria, blood, afterbirths, stillborn piglets and other unmentionables that endanger the local environment.
  4. Pigs on drugs. Pigs receive a wide variety of pharmaceutical drugs, and no one is sure what residues are left in the pork we consume. The U.S. is one of the few countries that allow pigs to be given ractopamine, an asthma drug that may be hazardous to humans.
  5. Mysterious illnesses. Rosenberg discusses strange autoimmune problems that sometimes afflict workers in pork processing plants who inhale “aerosolized (pig) brains.”
  6. Pigs suffer as they die. The report by the OIG notes that pork slaughterhouses may be violating the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Carl Lowe

Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.