Is Pork Poultry? The Key Facts

Are you confused about whether pork is considered poultry or not? You’re not alone.

With so many different classifications and definitions out there, it can be hard to keep track of what’s what. But fear not, we’re here to clear things up for you.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of meat classifications and explore why pork is actually considered a type of red meat, rather than poultry.

So sit back, relax, and let’s get to the bottom of this age-old question: Is pork poultry?

Is Pork Poultry?

The short answer is no, pork is not poultry. While poultry refers to domestic fowls, such as chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks, raised for the production of meat or eggs, pork is classified as livestock or red meat.

According to the scientific community and food authorities like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pork is classified as red meat due to its high myoglobin content. Myoglobin is a protein found in meat that produces a red color when exposed to oxygen. While pork may become lighter in color when cooked, it is still considered a red meat due to its myoglobin content.

Additionally, pork falls under the livestock category along with beef, lamb, and veal. All livestock are considered red meat, regardless of their color before or after cooking.

Understanding Meat Classification

Meat classification is based on the amount of myoglobin found in the animal’s muscle. Myoglobin is a protein that produces a red color when exposed to oxygen. Meats with high myoglobin content, such as beef, lamb, and pork, are classified as red meat. Meats with lower myoglobin content, such as poultry and fish, are classified as white meat.

The concept of white meat was introduced in the 1980s as part of a marketing campaign, but in terms of health and nutrition, pork is considered a red meat. While it may have a lighter color when cooked, it still has a high myoglobin content and falls under the livestock category.

It’s important to note that all red meat, including pork, should be consumed in moderation due to its link to heart disease. When choosing pork, opt for lean cuts such as pork tenderloin and trim off any visible fat. Poultry is also a great lean option, but be wary of breaded or fried options. Chicken or turkey (white meat most of the time with dark meat as an occasional treat) are great choices for building a meal around, and leftovers can be used in salads or sandwiches. It’s best to avoid goose and duck, which are high in saturated fat.

What Is Poultry?

Poultry refers to domesticated avian species that are raised for meat, eggs, or feathers. The term encompasses a wide range of birds, including chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, ostriches, and more. Poultry is the largest domestic animal stock in the world and is primarily raised for commercial purposes. Chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese are the most commonly raised birds for meat production, while chickens are also the leading species for egg production.

Poultry farming is an efficient and renewable source of income and nutrition, especially on a small scale. Poultry meat and eggs provide affordable high-quality protein and have become a fast-growing component of global meat production in the early 21st century. Poultry farming can also be a source of entertainment as pigeons are commonly raised for this purpose.

While pork is not considered poultry, it is still an important source of protein in many parts of the world. Unlike poultry, pork is classified as red meat due to its high myoglobin content and falls under the livestock category along with beef, lamb, and veal.

What Is Red Meat?

Red meat refers to the meat of non-bird mammals, such as beef, lamb, pork, veal, venison, and goat. It is typically red in color when raw due to its high myoglobin content. Red meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it has also been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.

While red meat can be a part of a balanced diet, it is recommended that people limit their consumption to no more than 500 grams per week. This includes both cooked and uncooked weight. Processed red meats, such as ham, bacon, and sausages, should also be avoided as much as possible due to their association with an increased risk of bowel cancer.

It’s worth noting that red meat does not include poultry or wild game, and the impact of consuming offal and wild game on cancer risk is still unknown. Red meat is a popular food among those following a paleo diet, which emphasizes unprocessed foods and natural diets for animals. Overall, while red meat can provide important nutrients for the body, it’s important to consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Why Is Pork Considered Red Meat?

Pork is considered red meat because it contains more myoglobin than poultry or fish. Myoglobin is a protein found in meat that produces a red color when exposed to oxygen. The amount of myoglobin in animal muscle determines the color of meat, and pork has significantly more myoglobin than poultry or fish, which are classified as white meat. While certain cuts of pork may appear lighter in color when cooked, it still contains enough myoglobin to be classified as red meat.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also classifies pork as red meat due to its livestock classification. All livestock, including beef, lamb, veal, and pork, are considered red meat regardless of their color before or after cooking.

It’s important to note that while pork is classified as red meat, it’s still a good source of high-quality protein and other vital nutrients. However, like any red meat, it should be consumed in moderation due to its link to heart disease and other health issues. Choosing lean cuts of pork, such as pork tenderloin, and trimming off visible fat can help make it a healthier choice.

Nutritional Differences Between Poultry And Pork

While pork and chicken have similar macronutrient compositions, there are some differences in their nutritional content. Pork is slightly higher in calories, protein, and fats compared to chicken. However, pork is also overall richer in vitamins and minerals, containing larger amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamins B1, B2, and B12, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. On the other hand, chicken is richer in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamins B3 and B5, and iron.

When it comes to macronutrient ratios, pork is lighter in protein and heavier in fat compared to chicken. Pork has a macronutrient ratio of 36:0:65 while chicken has a ratio of 49:0:51 for protein, carbohydrates and fat from calories. Both pork and chicken are high in calories with pork having 57% more calories than chicken. For instance, pork has 297 calories per 100 grams while chicken has 189 calories.

It is important to note that fat is essential for our bodies as it aids in the production of several hormones, provides energy and is essential for storing vitamins A, D, E and K. However, eating too much fat can lead to health problems such as heart disease and obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 20 and 35 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. This means that if you normally consume around 1,800 calories per day, you can have 40 to 70 grams of fat a day. Both chicken and pork can be low in fat but skinless chicken breast is one of the leanest sources of meat protein while tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of pork available.

Pork and chicken are also rich sources of selenium which our bodies use to produce antioxidants and to synthesize thyroid hormone. While skinless chicken breasts, legs and thighs provide 17.8 to 19.5 micrograms of selenium, the three cuts of pork contain 26.2 to 30.6 micrograms of selenium which represents between 32 to 56 percent of your recommended daily intake. Zinc is another essential nutrient found in both pork and chicken that supports our immune system, helps build proteins and synthesizes DNA which makes it essential for normal cell growth. Chicken breasts have 0.58 milligrams of zinc while the other choices provide 1.3 to 1.9 milligrams of zinc.

It is important to remember that while both poultry and pork are great sources of protein and nutrients our bodies need, they must be stored and cooked safely. Additionally, there are ways we can shop for meat sustainably and ethically while checking our recommended intake of meat and poultry to maintain a healthy diet.

Cooking Tips For Poultry And Pork

When it comes to cooking poultry and pork, it’s important to ensure that they are cooked to a safe internal temperature to avoid foodborne illness. Here are some cooking tips for poultry and pork:

1. Use a food thermometer: Always have an instant-read thermometer on hand when cooking poultry and pork. This will help you ensure that the meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

2. Safe internal temperatures: The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, is 165 oF. For whole cuts of pork, the recommended safe cooking temperature has been lowered from 160 oF to 145 oF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 oF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming.

3. Rest time: “Rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven or other heat source. During the rest time after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria.

4. Avoid half-cooked meat: Any meat that is half cooked can be the start of a food-borne illness so best to always cook your food fully.

5. Thawing: When thawing poultry and pork, always thaw in the refrigerator unless you plan on cooking beef within the next 7 days or poultry within the next 3 days.

By following these cooking tips for poultry and pork, you can ensure that your meals are both delicious and safe for consumption.