Pig meat: now featuring omega-3s
Canadian pork-innovators have come up with a way to make hogs a more healthy food source by infusing them with some of the same fatty acids that make fish oil so healthy.
(Fatty acids are thought to have different health benefits depending on the source. Check out a related article here.)
They may not have gills or fins, but there's something decidedly fishy about hogs waddling around three farms near Winnipeg.
Contained within their portly bodies is a glut of omega-3s, the fatty acids found mainly in seafood that make oily fish so healthy.
For years, researchers have puzzled over how to add these highly sought-after oils to the flesh of other animals, with little success.
But over the past five months, Prairie Orchard Farms, a small research and marketing firm in rural Manitoba, has won two prestigious awards for doing just that. First came the federal government's highest honour for agricultural innovation in November and, three months later, another Alberta-based prize for pork innovation.
Pork and beef naturally carry trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The average hamburger has about 50 milligrams and a pork chop has about 30 mg, neither contributing much toward the 1,100 to 1,600 mg that Health Canada recommends adults eat every day.
When Mr. Hoffmann and his crew received a Vancouver lab's nutritional analysis of their experimental meat, they were shocked. A 100-gram slab of their ham contained 400 mg of omega-3s and a 100-gram side of bacon held 2,000 mg, comparable to a large salmon fillet.
One catch remains: A slab of ham still isn't quite as healthy as a fillet of salmon. On their current diet, Prairie Orchard hogs pick up high concentrations of just one of the three essential types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Only marine sources contain the other two essential acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are more easily processed in the body.