Hammin’ it up

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 6, 2013

Ham is ham right? Wrong, there are a few differences one may want to know about the ham they purchase. The great thing about Christmas is that everyone seems to look forward to the ham. North Carolina has $1.46 billion in gross state product when it comes to hogs, so ham shouldn’t be too hard to come by, right? Getting pork seems to be the easy part. It is knowing what you’re buying that tends to get people confused, with the marketing statements like organic, pasture raised, hormone free and a variety of others can make selection tough.

Question: Is organic healthier than conventional pork?
Answer: There is no research evidence that shows organic is healthier than conventional. Typically eating organic foods is a lifestyle decision not necessarily a food health or safety decision.

Question: Pasture-raised pork eats only grass right?
Answer: No, pasture raised is a term that describes the type of production system that the animals are raised in. Pasture raised pork is often fed the same type of feed as conventional farms.

Question: Are hormones safe?
Answer: Yes. Hormones seem to be something that people don’t know a lot about but try to avoid like the plague. Animals can be injected with hormones that help with growth throughout the production cycle but these are FDA approved and safe. For more information, visit http://www.beef.org/uDocs/Growth%20promotants%20fact%20sheet%20FINAL_4%2026%2006.pdf

Question: If I buy no hormone added meat, will the meat I buy be hormone free?
Answer: No, when producers advertise no hormones added, all this means is that the animal did not receive any additional hormones other than what naturally occurs in the body. Since hormones are naturally occurring, all meat will have some traces of hormones.
For more information, contact Thomas Cobb at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension office (704) 216-8970.