Question: What do farmers do to keep pigs healthy and ensure pork safety?
Today’s pork is safer than ever before thanks to modern farming practices and technology.
Iowa farmers follow strict biosecurity measures on the farm to prevent pigs from getting sick or coming into contact with potential disease-spreading wildlife.
Jennie Greene, health and welfare specialist at Iowa-based Eichelberger Farms, says all staff and visitors are required to shower in and shower out on-site and change into clean boots and coveralls before entering the farm’s pig barns.
In the sow barns, where the mother pigs and piglets are cared for, all supplies must be disinfected before they are brought inside, Greene explains.
And as an added layer of safety, employees must disinfect their lunches under a UV light if they are working with the animals, Greene says.
Trucks and trailers are also washed, disinfected and parked for several hours in a heat chamber to kill any potential pathogens that could spread between barns.
“It’s all to protect the pigs,” Greene says.
Healthy pigs mean healthy pork. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for pork because of modern farming practices that protect food safety.
The USDA now recommends cooking whole pork cuts to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with the addition of a 3-minute rest time, compared to the previous temperature recommendation of 160 degrees.
The USDA says the 145 degree internal temperature with a 3-minute rest before serving will result in pork that is both safe and at its best quality – juicy and tender.
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