Alert reader David Fiske sent me this link to a New York Times op-ed that expresses surprise and alarm that livestock raised outdoors are exposed to more pathogens than ones raised in confinement. Outdoor pigs can get trichinosis and other porcine infestations, some of which are dangerous to humans.
None of this should be news to anybody. If you raise livestock in a bunker, you can control what they’re exposed to (though in practice this is hit-or-miss). Outdoors, nature gets a vote.
I don’t know about you, but people who want to seal themselves away from nature get on my nerves. That goes double when they want free-range stuff to be sealed away from nature, too.
Maybe this is just a bad attitude on my part. No doubt I should be building a farm in a giant tunnel somewhere, where everything is under absolute control. Then, just for luck, I’d irradiate the bejesus out of all my products after packaging to ensure that it’s more sterile than moon rocks. Too bad Howard Hughes isn’t alive anymore. He’d love it.
In the meantime, my advice is: nature’s full of all kinds of stuff, good and bad. Get used to it. Revisit “The Joy of Cooking” once in a while to refresh your memory about rules like, “Cook your pork thoroughly, even if it came from a gigantic, concrete-floored confinement facility.”
For home-raised pork, trichinosis is sort of a joke threat, since hard freezing kills it eventually, and that’s how we receive our pork from the butcher. Country people know better than to eat rare pork, anyway.