Chops, roast, ribs, sausage, bacon...
I'm getting hungry just thinking about all the great ways to eat pork. But there's one form of pig that makes me lose my appetite every time -- and it's exactly what people eat the most of: pork from factory farms.
Factory farmed animals are raised and slaughtered in filthy conditions, which is one reason for all the contaminated meat scares in recent years. And, of course, the only reason the animals themselves don't drop dead is because they're pumped full of antibiotics -- drugs that often end up in your meat.
But there's one more reason to skip out on this stuff: Factory pork contains a drug so dangerous it's been killing pigs like crazy.
Ractopamine hydrochloride is a beta agonist that mimics stress hormones. It leads to bigger pigs -- but it also leads to deader pigs: Some 218,000 have been killed by the drug in a little more than a decade.
That number should be even higher, except plenty of pigs about to drop dead of ractopamine overdose -- including pigs so sick they can't even walk on their own -- are quickly slaughtered first.
And then, they're shipped off to your local supermarket...despite the fact that low doses of the drug can remain in the meat.
The feds aren't too concerned. They claim a little ractopamine hydrochloride never hurt anyone. But in reality, there's not a whole lot of data on what low-but-steady doses of the drug does to humans.
The only human study submitted by the drug's maker involved just six people -- and one found his heart racing so bad he dropped out.
Here's the only thing you need to know about this drug: It's banned around the world. It's even banned in China, which doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to food safety.
Last year, Chinese officials arrested a bunch of farmers caught giving the drug to their pigs.
But here in the U.S., you can get your own dose of ractopamine tonight if Shake-n-Bake is on the menu, and you won't even know it.
The answer here isn't to avoid pork. Pork is delicious. The answer is to go organic -- and while you're at it, go organic with your beef and chicken too.