Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 28, 2014

Students learn about pork production presentation

By Lauren Fitch Kokomo Tribune

---- — Kokomo Area Career Center students took a closer look at pigs and their connection to culinary arts Thursday during a presentation on pork production.

Jeffrey Harker, a veterinarian and partner with Swine Health Services, LLC., in Frankfort, spoke to students about the nutritional benefits of eating pork and gave them a glimpse of how pig farms operate.

“Today’s pork is safer, leaner and more nutritious,” Harker said, comparing it to how pork was produced in the ‘70s.

When people became more health conscious in the early ‘80s, pig farmers adapted their process of raising pigs in order to produce healthier meat.

“We started changing the pigs,” Harker said. “Through selective breeding, nutrition and better health, we started producing pigs that were leaner and better quality.”

Pork tenderloin has fewer calories, less fat, less cholesterol and less sodium per serving than a chicken breast, ground pork or beef top sirloin, Harker said, citing a United State Department of Agriculture report.

He encouraged the students to experiment with different pork recipes, saying the meat is versatile and easily adapts to the flavors of different seasonings.

“Here in the U.S., we eat a lot of tenderloin,” Harker said. “Try it in some different types of dishes. You’ll probably be surprised and like it.”

Students were interested in the difference between ham and Canadian bacon [ham comes from a leg and Canadian bacon comes from a loin], why few fast food restaurants serve pork and how difficult it would be to keep a pig as a pet.

Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at lauren.fitch@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.