Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Mild Taste of Pork Going to the Hogs in Norway


Originally uploaded by LineCath

I don’t like the taste of strong meat. Deer meat has a strong wild taste. Lamb is also strong, in my opinion. But I certainly don’t put pork into this category, but that may be changing.

The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article today about what causes pork meat to be mild or strong — and it has to do with whether the pig is castrated.

The castration of a male pig keeps it from creating hormones at puberty that cause the meat to get “an objectionable taste known in the pig trade as ‘boar taint’ “.

The article goes on to explain that animal rights activists have instituted a law in Norway that outlaws castration of pigs in 2009. In the meantime, they are requiring that vets use an anesthesia to perform the castration.

As a result, people are scrambling to try to find alternatives around the potential crisis of nobody wanting to eat their meat.

What I found interesting is that there are lots of solutions to a problem and they started their search for solutions by looking to see what other countries are doing.

England avoids this problem altogether by killing the pigs befor they reach puberty.

Australia, Brazil, and Mexico use a vaccine that suppresses piglet puberty.

The United States still castrates – mostly without anesthesia.

The solution for cooks? They suggest that the nasty flavor was best disguised by marinades that combined oregano and smoke flavors.

Mary Johnson
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  1. Along the same lines, goat cheese can be either strong or mild depending upon whether the male and female goats are kept apart. Again, it all has to do with hormones.

    If female goats are mixed in with male goats, the male goats rub against the female goats and their male scent gets absorbed into the female and affects the milk taste from which the cheese is made.

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