October became known as National Pork Month because it was the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration of pork.
“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer,” said Rich Deaton, President, Ohio Pork Council. “October Pork Month is an opportunity to reestablish that producer-to-consumer relationship. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner, and we need to share how we do that with consumers.”
Since 2008, Ohio pork farmers have adopted the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply.
Producers 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; and
- Ensuring practices to protect public health.
“The ethical principles define our values and who we are,” Deaton said. “Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using the ethical principles.”
Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 42% of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The top five most popular cuts sold in the United States are center-cut chops, assorted chops, back ribs, blade roasts and center-cut loin roasts, according to Nielsen Perishable Group retail sales data for the 52 weeks ending July 1, 2017.
“While many Americans favor bacon, and back ribs, very few of these cuts are exported to other countries,” Deaton said. “For many Americans, this means greater access to their favorite cuts, which is ultimately a good thing for those consumers.”
In terms of value, center-cut chops accounted for more than $980 million in sales, assorted chops for $484 million, back ribs for $422 million, blade roasts for $289 million and center-cut loin roasts for $275 million.
“Consumers are putting more pork on their fork — from bacon to tenderloins,” Deaton said. “To ensure a flavorful eating experience, we remind consumers to cook pork until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest.”