October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pig farmers and share their stories with consumers.
“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day,” said David Struthers, a hog farmer from Collins and president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world.”
In 2008, pork producers adopted six We CareSM ethical principles at the National Pork Industry Forum. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Pig farmers are committed to:
- Producing safe food
- Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices
- Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry’s other ethical principles
- Contributing to a better quality of life in communities
- Protecting and promoting animal well-being
- Ensuring practices to protect public health
“The ethical principles define our values and who we are,” said Struthers. “Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles.”
Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 36 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
According to retail scanner data from June 30, 2014, to June 28, 2015, the top five most popular pork cuts sold are boneless New York chops, back ribs, bone-in chops, spareribs and boneless tenderloin.
In terms of sales, boneless New York Chops accounted for more than $836 million, back ribs more than $674 million, bone-in chops more than $432 million, spareribs more than $352 million and boneless tenderloin more than $398 million.
“Consumers recognize the versatility of serving pork in their homes,” Struthers said. “Cook pork until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest. This will ensure flavorful and tender pork on the plate.”