Friday, May 25, 2007

"Hogs Get Candy"

My title is NOT referring to the Razorbacks, though I did vote multiple times for them in the CBS Sportsline Most Dominant Mascot contest this week. Nope, this is really a post about hogs.

Most of you know that I'm a news junkie. My day is not complete without a thorough reading of the Denver Post. If you wanna know what's up in the world, or in our great state, chances are high that I can tell you. The daily paper provides me with endless blog fodder too. I could tell you all about the 60-year old woman who gave birth to twins this week, or the new Coca-Cola museum opening in Atlanta, the price of gas right now and how it is affecting millions of working Americans, or how 39% of homes in Utah have 4 bedrooms or more (due to the huge Mormon population there I'm sure) but I won't. I came across an article on Tuesday that has the nutrition freak in me all riled up. So about those hogs and that candy...fascinating, and quite possibly the most digusting thing you'll read today.

Currently, corn is in high demand in this country. That's because of the growing demand for a corn-based ethanol. Therefore the price of corn right now is sky high. And that's a concern for pig-farmers. The article says that 60% of our nation's corn crop is consumed by the livestock industry. So, with the price of corn through the roof, pig farmers are having to come up with some cheaper feeding alternatives for those pigs. Human food is cheaper, and so pig farmers have turned to feeding their pigs things such as trail mix, cookies, fruit punch, tortillas, beermaker's yeast, cereal, cheese curls, cocoa powder (they mix it with cereal to make "cocoa puffs" for the baby pigs--yes, the article *really* said that!) licorice, peanut butter cups, candy bars, french fries, and much more stuff we're better off not knowing (I'm stopping on purpose 'cause it just makes me feel sick). And if you think they're getting the first quality stuff, think again. It's the surplus stuff the farmers buy on the cheap that they're feeding these hogs; the stuff that was unfit for manufacturers to sell or for humans to eat. So they feed it to the pigs...which are then butchered and consumed by humans, and the stuff that was unfit for us to eat in the first place ends up getting eaten. Yuck, yuck, yuck. We don't eat a lot of pork at our house, but that is seriously enough to make me stop buying ham and bacon, and the occasional pork roast. Or at least make me consider buying the pricey organic stuff. Bluck!

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that the FDA let this story go to print. I think it reflects very poorly on the quality of the food they say is fit for human cosumption. I guess most folks might not be grossed out by cheese curls and candy bars...but I don't think everything those pigs eat is as tame as the article suggests.

At a MOPS meeting years ago a nutritionist was our guest speaker. One mom asked about organic produce, meat, dairy, etc. and the importance of it to our diet. Of course, the nutritionist advised buying it whenever possible, but she also understood and made clear that it isn't always feasible on a limited budget. However, there are some organic products that just make sense to buy. When animals consume toxins, the toxins in their body get stored in their fat. So to avoid consuming harmful toxins, she advised buying organic when buying any product that contains animal fat. Things like butter, milk, and all PORK products. Am I the only one who doesn't ever want to eat a slice of bacon again?

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