Today at work we were discussing the question "is pork really red meat." After much debate we were unable to come up with a definitive solution. So we decided to ask an expert, our first thought was 4H, but we couldn't find an easy contact so intead we hit up the FFA. We easily found a contact on the FFA webpage, so I shot her a quick email:
Dear Tiffany: I'm hoping you can help settle a bet my friends and I are having. We are arguing about whether or not pork is considered "red meat" or "white meat." After doing some research around the internet I've found the following pictures of pork: http://www.consumerspacking.com/html/slides/pork-lollipop.jpg http://aggiemeat.tamu.edu/judging/id/074P.jpg http://www.graigfarm.co.uk/images/porkmixed.jpg After looking at all those pictures it would appear that based on color pork is red meat. However the traditional wisdom would dictate that it's white meat. Therein lies our quandry. Comparing it to chicken which is very much "white meat" it seems pretty clear to me. Pictures of chicken: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/kgk/0599/chicken.jpg http://www.menumagic.co.nz/images/shreddedchick.jpg http://www.meatking.co.nz/images/catagory/chicken.jpg However the pork commercials say that pork is the "other white meat." I've always thought this was sort of a joke, because pork seems to me to red meat. Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps you can explain what would make a cut of meat qualify as either red or white meat? You were the most logical contact at the FFA, if you feel this question would be better answered by another person there please forward this email to them as we're very eager to hear your response.
To which Tiffany replied very quickly (22 minutes), with her official FFA answer.
Hi Scott, Thanks for your question. Here's what I know about pork and it's classification: Pork is considered a red meat. In the mid 80's, when health-conscience consumers decided that red meat was unhealthy, the pork industry lost sales dramatically. In an effort to regain lost ground, the Pork Council started a catchy and attractive campaign ("The other white meat") in 1987. The campaign worked-- the demand for pork quickly rose. In fact, today's pork prices rise at a rate faster than the cost of living inflation. During the shift of perception, though, people began to refer to it as a white meat rather than a red meat (9 out of 10 people recognize the slogan). You may find this link of interest when it comes to the changing face of pork: http://www.nppc.org/resources/nutrition.html. Basically, pork has become a competitive, nutritive rival to lean poultry. That's basically it on the red vs. white meat debate on pork. I'm happy to answer more questions. Enjoy! Tiffany
So to end the long standing debate, pork is and always has been red meat. The only real reason it was ever considered white meat is because the pork council decided back in the 80s that the term "red meat" had a bad stigma attached to it, and it was affecting sales. So they tried to cash in on the health food craze and it worked, sales went up.
In pork's defense, it is much healthier today than it was 25 years ago. Pigs are raised and bred differently and the most popular cut of pork (the tenderloin) is now 42% less fat. Pork has changed, and is more healthy but it is still red meat. If the FFA says so, I agree!