"[S]cientists have found that free-range pork can be more likely than caged pork to carry dangerous bacteria and parasites," warns Professor McWilliams:
Free range is not necessarily natural. And neither is its taste. In fact, free range is like piggy day care, a thoughtfully arranged system designed to meet the needs of consumers who despise industrial agriculture and adore the idea of wildness.I wasn't under the impression that anyone was equating wild pigs with domestic pigs raised in a free range environment. But if McWilliams is suggesting that the choice is between the very real horrors [moral and environmental] of factory farms and "piggy day care," I'll vote for "day care," thanks. For anyone truly hell-bent on insulting pigs and domestication and the essence of nature, factory farming is the way to go.
To equate the highly controlled grazing of pigs with wild animals in a state of nature is to insult the essence of nature, domestication and wild pigs.
And those dire warnings about "dangerous bacteria and parasites"? Marion Nestle to the rescue:
The study on which McWilliams based his op-ed is published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. The investigators actually measured "seropositivity" (antibodies) in the pigs' blood. But the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean that the animals--or their meat--are infected. It means that the free-range pigs were exposed to the organisms at some point and developed immunity to them. The industrial pigs were not exposed and did not develop immunity to these microorganisms. But you would never know that from reading the op-ed. How come?Read all about it here: "Sponsored Science" Strikes Again, by Marion Nestle at the Atlantic Food Channel blog.
Guess who paid for the study? The National Pork Board, of course.