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Why I'm having Pork for dinner. . . 

Posted Nov 28 2012 2:01pm

While getting everyone ready for school this  morning I heard the news in the background.  My ears perked up at a story about a new Pork Scare and some evils of bacteria getting into the pork and causing food poisioning.  Yuck.  Here we go again with another food scare.  (Pink slime anyone?)  So, being the diligent food consumer I am (and because I had planned on having pork for dinner) I had to do some looking into this newest report.  
A sample of raw pork products from supermarkets around the United States found that yersinia enterocolitica, a lesser-known food-borne pathogen, was present in 69 percent of the products tested, according to a study released today by Consumer Reports.

The bacteria infects more than 100,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but for every case that is confirmed with a laboratory test, about 120 more cases escape diagnosis. Symptoms can include fever, cramps and bloody diarrhea.

For its sample, Consumer Reports included the same pork products millions of Americans buy every day at their supermarkets. The study included 148 pork chops and 50 ground pork samples from around the United States.

In the samples tested, 69 percent tested positive for yersinia and 11 percent for enterococcus, which can indicate fecal contamination that can lead to urinary-tract infections. Salmonella and listeria, the more well-known bacterium, registered at 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

"The results were concerning," Urvashi Rangan, one of the authors of the report, told "It's hard to say that there was no problem. It shows that there needs to be better hygiene at animal plants. Yersinia wasn't even being monitored for."

ABC News' Dr. Anita Chu contributed reporting .
The Pork Producer's Council said the sample "not provide a nationally informative estimate of the true prevalence of the cited bacteria on meat."

The USDA had this to say, ""USDA will remain vigilant against emerging and evolving threats to the safety of America's supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products, and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure companies are following food safety procedures in addition to looking for new ways to strengthen the protection of public health". 

The most important point to me was a statement that "the bacteria can be killed by cooking the pork properly and by being vigilant about cross-contamination."
That's just being smart in the kitchen in my opinion!

Pork should always be cooked to 145 degrees and if it is ground pork it needs to reach a temp of 160 degrees to kill bacteria.

Anytime you are handling raw meat, anything that touches the raw meat needs to go right into the dishwasher before it touches anything else.  You never want raw meat juices floating around your kitchen!   

In my opinion, this type of thing will continue to be a problem with animals that are treated with antibiotics for growth production.  The animals begin to become immune to antibiotics and bacterial strains will remain in the animals. Therefore, we have to be smart with choosing the meat we eat and feed our families and how we handle, treat and prepare the meat.  Sometimes, organic may be the best way to go if it is available and affordable.  Either way, organic or non-organic, proper handling is imperative.

So, after looking into the statements and background we are still having pork for dinner.  In fact, we are having Zesty Pork Chops!  
I just so happen to have the recipe here!

Ready in just 40 minutes.

• 4 bone-in pork chops (about 1 1/4 pounds)
• All-purpose flour
• 1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
• 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
• 1 apple, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
• 2 tablespoons olive oil


Coat the pork with the flour. Stir the picante sauce, brown sugar and apple in a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Pour off any fat.

Pour the picante sauce mixture over the pork. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.
Recipe Tips:
 Flavor Variation: You can really spice up this recipe by adding 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce to the picante sauce mixture.

Nutrition Information
Using Pace Picante Sauce: : Calories 280, Total Fat 14g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 63mg, Sodium 481mg, Total Carbohydrate 14g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 4%DV, Vitamin C 4%DV, Calcium 2%DV, Iron 5%DV 

I'm thinking roasted brussel sprouts and brown wild rice on the side.

Have a Great Wednesday!

By the way, my blender is going on the blink ):  Vita Mixer or Ninja?  Which to put on my Christmas list?  Any tips appreciated!


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