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          Fresh Pork and Lamb

Pork - Although sometimes considered a "white meat," it is not. The USDA states "When fresh pork is cooked it becomes lighter in color, but it is still a red meat. Pork is classified as 'livestock' along with veal, lamb beef. All livestock are considered 'red' meat."

Today's pigs are not the same kind that were around in your grandparent's day. Porkers have been "improved" considerably through genetics and improved feeding.
Meat from today's pigs is much leaner, and healthier, then pork was several decades ago.  

Pigs are between (estimates vary) 30 % - 50 % leaner than they
they were forty years ago.

Much of the hog is cured and made into ham, bacon sausage. Uncured pork is "fresh pork." All pork, cured or fresh, is still saturated fat like any other red meat. However, saturated fat is no longer associated with heart disease and is now considered to be a healthy fat. The deadly fat---which must be avoided at all times---is labeled "trans-fat".

The leanest cuts of fresh beef and pork are the least fattening, and healthiest.Like beef, the marbling (fatty pieces and flecks of fat in the meat) adds flavor to pork.

Unlike beef, which has eight USDA grades, there are only two USDA grades of pork: (1) "Acceptable" and (2) "Utility." The "Acceptable" grade pork is the only grade sold in stores as fresh pork. The "Utility" grade pork is used in processed meat products and is not available in stores for purchase as fresh pork.

The USDA advises: "Pork must be adequately cooked to eliminate disease-causing parasites and bacteria that may be present. Humans may contract trichinosis (a parasite) by eating under cooked pork." The USDA also cautions: "Some other food-borne micro-organisms can be found in pork as well as other meats and poultry. They are all destroyed by proper handling and thorough cooking to an internal temperature of  160 degrees F." It is important to use a meat thermometer when cooking pork.

Sheep and Lamb - Lambs are baby sheep. Lamb is graded
on the proportion of fat to lean (as with cattle), from "Prime"
(the fattest, highest grade) through "Choice," "Good," "Utility," down to "Cull" (the leanest, lowest grade).

Young sheep are called lambs and their meat is widely used.                                       
As with beef, the tenderest and most flavorful grades of lamb (Prime and Choice) have the most marbling (areas and flecks of fat) in each piece of meat.  

Further government grades of lamb are based on age, similar to Veal (baby cattle). Spring lamb is milk-fed and slaughtered between 3 to 5 months of age. Regular lamb is weaned on grass and slaughtered while under one year old.

"Mutton" refers to sheep over one year old, and is the least tender grade of sheep. It is not frequently used in the US.
Lamb and mutton are considered "red" (saturated fat) meat along with beef, veal, and pork.

Mutton is meat from sheep over one year old and is seldom sold in the US.                                  
The USDA recommends "cooking lamb patties and ground lamb mixtures such as meat loaf to 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. However, whole muscle meat such as steaks and roasts may be cooked to 145 degree F (medium rare), 160 degrees F (medium), or 170 degrees F. (well done)."

Bottom line on all meat:  Authorities on nutrition are advising us to eat LESS red meat (which is beef, pork, ham [cured pork], lamb, and veal) than we used to---
and eat MORE fresh vegetables, legumes (dry beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, and peanuts), fresh fruit, nuts, and uncooked seeds.

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