Hi! I have a question about pork… Sometimes, the pork I get tastes strong – I call it piggy. Do you have a brand in mind that you like? I live in Cleveland, OH.
While there is no food safety issues associated with eating meat that has Boar Taint, it can produce a foul odor that smells like old gym socks or bad human body odor. Food quality standards prohibit Boar Taint — for obvious reasons! The older and heavier the boar, the more likely you’ll detect Boar Taint in the meat.
Hog farmers can prevent Boar Taint from hampering the meat through a couple different ways, the most common being castration. Castration of male piglets before they hit puberty will prevent Boar Taint from occurring in the meat. A farmer may also attempt Immuno castration, which utilizes the pig’s natural immune system to reduce the chances it will produce the Androstenone and Skatole.
So, how can you avoid Boar Taint? The answer to that question is a little bit harder.
Some European countries, such as the U.K., prohibit castration of piglets because there is no effective way of minimizing or eliminating the pain of the procedure. Therefore, the first choice should be to purchase pork produced in the United States, where castration is common. Beyond that, it can be incredibly difficult to tell just from the packaging of the meat whether or not Boar Taint is a risk.
Unfortunately, it also seems like some people are more susceptible to recognizing Boar Taint than others — which might mean you are naturally more aware of it!
My advice is to find a brand of pork that you like and stick with it! Otherwise, you can certainly return the meat to the store if you find it has Boar Taint.
I hope this helps! Thanks again for such a great question!
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I’m a little confused … is it OK to eat ham that smells like old gym socks? (We get our ham from a local co-op and it is uncured.)