Parasites in Undercooked Pork
Of all the commonly available meats such as fish, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, bison, and beef, it would be pork that is least favored. Why?
This is because under-cooked pork carry parasites. That is not to say that other meats can not carry parasites, but pork in particular has the parasites that are more easily transmitted to humans than other meat products. This is due to the bio-similarity between humans and pigs. We are more similar to pigs than to cows for example.
Furthermore, pigs are scavengers; they'll eat almost anything including bugs, scrapes, dead carcasses, and even feces (that of their own as well as of other animals). This is confirmed by wikipedia on coprophagia.
In episode 83 of Extreme Health Radio, guest expert Dr. Robert Cassar say to avoid eating pork. If you want to hear some scary things about parasites and pork, listen to the episode. Let's just say that there were some mentions of tapeworms.
You can read more about tapeworm from undercooked pork and beef on New York Times article. The good news is that it writes ...
"In the U.S., laws on feeding practices and the inspection of domestic food animals have largely eliminated tapeworms. Avoiding raw meat and cooking meat well enough (to greater than 140 degrees F for 5 minutes) will prevent tapeworm infection. Freezing meats to -4 degrees F for 24 hours also kills tapeworm eggs."
Paul Jaminet writes article The Trouble With Pork saying that ...
"More than any other animal, pigs pass pathogens to humans."
The H1N1 swine flu was a virus that originated from pigs to human.
Article found on PubMed titled Parasites associated with pork and pork products writes that the three parasites that poses a health risk from eating undercooked pork are Trichinella spiralis, Taenia solium and Toxoplasma gondii.
However, it goes on to say that ...
"All three parasites are inactivated by various methods of cooking, freezing and curing."
Pork must be fully cooked
That is why pork should be fully cooked and never eat raw or undercooked pork. But why leave it to chance when there are much better meats to eat -- fish, poultry, bison, lamb, and beef (in that order based on my opinion).
It is difficult to know whether the chef cooked it well enough, especially if there are thick sauces on it. Sometime it can take quite a bit of really long cooking to kill of all the pathogens.
In Jaminet's Trouble with Pork article mentioned above, he writes ...
"Hepatitis E virus is not destroyed by casual cooking, smoking, or curing. It appears that meat must reach temperatures of 70ºC (160ºF) before viruses are inactivated; and it is possible that meat must remain at that temperature for some time, perhaps as long as an hour."
Most of us have parasites
Dr. Josh Axe wrote article Why You Should Avoid Pork in which he says ...
"Pork meat is loaded with toxins, more so than most other meats like beef and chicken."
Pigs' simple and quick digestive system does not fully eliminate the toxins that they eat. Plus they don't have sweat glands to push out the toxin. Instead the toxins are stored in their fat, which we end up eating.
In the below video by Dr. Josh Axe, he says that half the population have or have had some form of parasite which is commonly infected by consuming pork or by travelling to certain countries without clean water. He goes on to explain how to rid the parasites using some supplements and diet.
The reason why many people have parasites and not know it is that our immune system keeps them in check and prevents them from causing major harm.
However, if our immune system weakens due to stress, autoimmune conditions, immuno-suppressant drug, the parasites can start to dominate and symptoms can occur. Hence the importance of reducing stress and keeping the immune system healthy and eating a healthy diet that discourages the environment in which the parasite thrive.
As Dr. Robert Cassar says you have to keep the terrain of your body so that it is not conducive to parasites.
How Pork Affects the Blood
Beside the risk of parasites, there may be other concerns with pork. In the book Nourishing Traditions, it writes ...
"Investigation into the effects of pork consumption on blood chemistry has revealed serious changes for several hours after pork is consumed. The pork used was organic, free of trichinosis, so the changes that occurred in the blood were due to some other fact, possibly a protein unique to pork." [page 32]
You can see pictures of blood analysis before and after eating pork in the Weston A Price article. The negative blood changes occurred after consuming un-marinated cooked pork. Cooked pork marinated in unfiltered live apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”), bacon, and proscuitto did not have the problem.
The article concludes that ...
"We speculate that raw pork contains a toxin, unidentified to date, and that heat alone from cooking cannot destroy it, but that fermentation with salt, and also acid plus heat, do so."
It also writes some scary stuff about undercooked pork...
"When a human ingests undercooked pork containing a cyst, the parasite pops out and attaches itself to the human’s intestinal wall, and the tapeworm begins to grow—up to twenty feet in length. Moreover, if a human ingests eggs of the pork tapeworm, he can develop a disease known as cysticercosis, which creates cysts and lesions throughout the body, obviously causing health problems."
Did the ancient traditions know something about pork that we don't know? Why is it that many cultures and tradition avoid of pork products? See wikipedia on religious restrictions on the consumption of pork.
Article written May 2013 and is only opinion at the time of writing.