Farmers up in arms after govt. says pork meat stinks

Government wants to introduce regulations to reduce boar taint in pork meat. However, local pork producers are adamant new regulations are not necessary. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Government wants to introduce regulations to reduce boar taint in pork meat. However, local pork producers are adamant new regulations are not necessary. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

If new regulations are pushed through, Mzansi’s pork producers could soon be forced to implement a number of solutions to, quite frankly, prevent pork meat from smelling.

The pork industry, however, isn’t pleased with government’s proposed boar taint reduction solutions as farmers are, according to them, already implementing it.

The proposal follows confirmation by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development that it received a number of complaints from consumers regarding boar taint in pork meat.

Wikpedia describes boar taint as the offensive odour or taste that can be evident during the cooking or eating of pork or pork products derived from non-castrated male pigs once they reach puberty.

In a media advisory, the department says some consumers claimed that they could smell the taint in the raw pork meat, but they could not open the package in the supermarkets. “The result of this is that if someone in a family is sensitive to boar taint, they avoid buying pork.”

However, according to the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation, boar taint prevention is a practice they are already undertaking. Furthermore, they claim the department’s proposals are common practice among pork producers.

Dr Peter Evans, who heads up consumer assurance at the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation. Photo: Supplied/SAPPO

According to the department there are various production methods that can be used to reduce boar taint. However, current regulations only address boar taint in the sale of meat and not in how it is produced.

Among the proposed solution-based regulations are human or electronic “sniffers” who are expected to separate the boar taint carcasses.

Furthermore, the weights of the carcasses can be reduced from the present 100kg to a lower weight to reduce the incidence of boar taint.

SAPPO’s head of consumer assurance, Dr Peter Evans, believes the pork industry does not need government regulations to reduce boar taint.

Reacting to the government’s plans to introduce official regulations to reduce boar taint, Evans says, “The South African pork industry is self-regulating in this regard and does not need official government regulations.

“At least 70% of pigs are already born on farms participating in SAPPO’s quality assurance system Pork 360,” he states.

ALSO READ: Pork industry to prioritise small-scale farmers

Farmers are also not happy

According to North West pig breeder Mogorosi Modisaotsile the issue has already started affecting his production.

North West pig breeder, Mogorosi Modisaotsile. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

The Taung farmer explains that boar taint has become an issue in Mzansi because of a select few pig breeders who fail to take care of their pig herds.

“This issue of boar taint came out of nowhere, but it’s because there are farmers who are not taking care of their pigs and this is now affecting those farmers who do take care of their pig herds,” Modisaotsile says.

In the five years that Modisaotsile has been raising pigs, he never had any complaints until recently.

“It’s affecting my production. The thing that I’ve realised is that SAPPO must go to auctions and investigate because some pigs are not fit to be sold.

“SAPPO should also check the conditions of all pig farmers because this thing [boar taint] is now affecting our markets,” says Modisaotsile.

‘Pigs washed twice a day’

Ipeleng Kwadi, livestock farmer and owner of Motsobella Farming Enterprise. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Meanwhile in Brits, also in North West, Ipeleng Kwadi has not had any problems from her markets. She says this is because she takes care of her hog herd and follows strict biosecurity rules.

“I don’t have problems and no has complained to me. I’m very strict when it comes to the health of my pigs. I even wash my pigs twice a day.

“People know that I get very upset when my pigs are dirty and unhealthy. Pigs are very sensitive animals. They need to be in a clean environment because they perform well in a clean environment,” Kwadi believes.

The department has called on the industry to comment on its proposals. Comments on the proposed regulations close on 31 May 2021.

ALSO READ: SA pork industry ‘well positioned and future fit’

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