Sponsored: Is the pork at Ingles pasture-raised?
Is the pork at Ingles pasture-raised?
No, currently it is not. It would be impossible to pasture-raise pigs on any sort of scale. They would require 1/4 acre for every 8-9 pigs. Hogs/pigs are not grazing animals like cows or sheep; they "root", i.e. use their snouts to push and search for food and this can be destructive to the landscape and result in erosion if not properly managed. They would also need to be fed in addition to anything they could root for in a pasture in order to receive proper nutrition. You might find "pasture-raised" pigs in small operations but hogs can be very sensitive to heat (that's why they roll in mud to keep cool) so they are generally kept indoors where they can be kept cool, though they may have access to the outdoors.
Bottom Line: Raising pigs out of doors may subject them to injury and diseases including trichinosis - which can be passed to humans. USDA organic standards for raising pigs are that: "Pigs are required to have access to the outdoors, but raising pigs on pasture is not required by organic regulations."
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian