1. What is the difference between certified organic and our pork?

We do not spray the pastures that the pigs are on for weeds or insects and do not feed our pigs low levels of antibiotics to prevent disease. We do not use artificial growth promotants to get our pigs to grow faster or leaner than they would naturally. Our pigs get a plant based diet – with no animal byproducts in that feed. The barley and fababeans that are fed to the pigs have been grown conventionally – when the crops were grown they were sprayed once to kill the weeds in the field, and the barley crops are grown with inorganic fertilizer when necessary to provide the appropriate levels of fertility in the soil.

2. Do we use nitrites in our sausage?

Yes, in all of our smoked products – there is a regulated level of sodium nitrite added. This is 200 ppm in sausage and ham and 120 ppm in bacon. This level of sodium nitrite is added to prevent the growth of botulism during the smoke phase in the smokehouse. The botulism toxins can be produced in an anaerobic, warm environment, and the sodium nitrite prevents this growth. We are trying to produce a safe product. Research has shown that sodium nitrite can become nitrosamine which has been labelled a carcinogen. There are lower levels of sodium nitrite in bacon than in sausage to prevent this conversion to nitrite to nitrosamine. We recommend to people who want to avoid all nitrites – to stick with fresh grilling type sausage or roasts as opposed to hams. We even have a country roll – a leg roast that has a ham flavoured brine (without the nitrite) that has not been smoked but will have a ham flavour after cooking.

3. What is trichinosis? Does pork still have to be cooked to well done?

Trichinosis is a roundworm that lives part of its lifecycle in a mouse and part in an animal that would eat mice. Pigs and wild game (bear, cougar) are historically the animals that would carry trichinosis. However, since almost all pigs are raised indoors – the lifecycle of trichinosis has been broken and there has not been a reported case of trichinosis in pork in Canada for over 15 years. Our pigs are inspected at slaughter and are healthy but we do recommend pork be cooked to 72C, trichinosis is killed at 58C. Freezing also kills trichinosis in pork.