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Eating High Off the Hog

You may have heard the saying "eating high off the hog.” Americans have grown accustomed to do-ing just that. Yet how many understand the meaning of this saying these days? It refers to the habit of eating what many consider choice cuts of meat, those found to be high on the body of an animal (e.g., shoulders, hams, steaks, roasts and chops). This tendency is different from the past, when it was said that many Americans ate every part of the pig except the squeal.

Over the last few decades most Americans have become very particular about exactly what they’ll eat off of animals raised for human consumption. Parts that are nutritious, and not too long ago were viewed as delicious, now are widely shunned. In many places around the globe, these parts of the animal are still considered to be delicacies, and they continue to be eaten in certain ethnic restaurants in the United States.

Visit a Kosher deli, and one will find tongue and liver on the menu. Sit down for French cuisine, and kidneys, liver, sweetbreads and even more squeamishness-inducing organs are likely to be encountered. Explore the flavors of Spain, and tripe and blood sausage will be "must try” items. American soul food restaurants feature chitterlings and trotters (i.e., pig’s feet), and snicker-inducing "mountain oysters” are consumed in western states.

In the United States we often refer to these nutritious animal parts that we choose not to eat as by-products. In reality they are co-products of the steaks, chicken breasts and hams that we prefer.

Sustainable Practices

Animal co-products are important sources of good quality protein, vitamins, minerals and essential amino and fatty acids for pet food products that do not detract from the human food supply.

In fact cats must have animal proteins or chemically synthesized taurine and arachadonic acid added to their diets as a preventative measure against eye and heart disease because they cannot produce these substances in their body through metabolism.

Americans expect companies to follow sustainable practices. With a global human population that continues to grow, what can be more sustainable than using precious food resources more efficiently, including all those tasty, nutritious animal co-products?

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