Is Pork Considered Red Meat?

You may have heard of red meat before, and if so you probably heard about in a negative context. Perhaps your doctor has told you that you need to avoid red meats for health purposes, or maybe you’ve just heard somewhere that red meats are bad for you and have decided to not them.

The problem is: How are you supposed to know which meats are considered red and which are not?

Is pork considered red meat? Well, like so many food questions it depends on who you ask.

In the culinary sense, a red meat is any meat that appears red when raw, and is not white when cooked. Nutritionists, on the other hand, generally use a broader definition and consider the meat of all mammals to be red.

Under either of those definitions, pork could be considered a red meat.

So who is saying differently?

Not surprisingly, the pork industry!

The National Pork Board, the quasi-governmental institute in charge of presenting consumers with information about the meat, launched an advertising campaign in the 1980’s with a slogan that many of you have probably heard: Pork. The Other White Meat.

This campaign was an attempt to capitalize on the newly-emerging health consciousness on American consumers who were being told by medical professionals at the time that red meats were unhealthy. The campaign worked, as per capita consumption of pork rose from 45.6 pounds in 1987 to 49.3 pounds in 1999. The slogan was eventually retired in early 2011.

But is there any truth to the claim that pork is a “white meat”?

No, not really. In fact, the term white meat actually applies exclusively to poultry, so pig meat cannot be white meat.

So ultimately, it’s probably more accurate to say that yes, pork is a red meat.

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