onzalo Erdozain: Real Housewives of Miami practice food safety and zoonotic diseases prevention, style

I couldn’t care less about Real Housewives of Miami, however I will admit one of the wives got something right – her use of hand sanitizer after visiting a pig farm.

Petting zoos and farms have all been linked to different kinds of outbreaks, from E. coli to salmonella, so when petting an animal, either wash your hands or sanitize them. However, if you are going to season a whole pig in your kitchen, don’t use your oven mitts and dish towels to hold it and then place those same items on your countertop. Always use separate utensils for raw and cooked foods, including cutting boards if possible.

Really, I just happened to walk into my living room as the events unfolded. Word.

Plan to reduce pig pollution by potty training

Environmental authorities in Taiwan say they are planning to promote potty training for pigs to help curb water and waste pollution.

The Environmental Protection Administration made the pledge following the success of a pig farm in southern Taiwan, where the breeder started to potty-train his 10,000 pigs in late 2009, it said.

To keep his animals from defecating in nearby rivers, the breeder has established special "toilets" smeared with faeces and urine to attract the pigs, it said.

This reduced the amount of waste water by up to 80 per cent. As well as making the farm cleaner and less smelly, it also helped reduce illness among the pigs and boosted their fertility by 20 per cent, it added.

Taiwan has about six million pigs, most of them raised on farms in the centre and the south of the island.

Who doesn’t slaughter their own pigs

On Dec. 6, 2010, Karen Selick wrote in Canada’s National Post about the plight of an Ottawa-area man charged with home slaughtering and distribution in a story titled, Drop The Pig And Put Your Hands In The Air.

M. Milstein, doctor of veterinary medicine, Vancouver, responds in today’s National Post in a memo to veterinary colleagues at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

You wasted your time getting a veterinary degree and spending your professional lives working towards ensuring that Canadians have a wholesome food supply. All you had to do, according to Karen Selick, was grow up on a farm, hunt, join the Armed Forces and get a degree in biomedical toxicology.

Then you "could tell a healthy animal from a sick one." Who knew?

Micro-pig the new porcine pocket pet

British celebrities Katie Price, Victoria and David Beckham, and Rupert Grint (the Ginge in those terrible Harry Potter movies) have fallen for the charms of the micro-pig, which can sell for thousands of dollars.

But the New Zealand Herald reports parents in Britain have been urged not to buy the miniature porcine pets for Christmas, with the Government set to warn this week that they risk spreading dangerous diseases.

Ministers are so nervous about the craze, which has led to several owners being mis-sold regular piglets which grow into full-size sows, that guidance is to be rushed out next week specifically targeting prospective keepers of the pocket-sized creatures.

The agency responsible for ensuring farm animals are healthy, disease-free and well looked after, will raise serious concerns about the hygiene threat posed by the animals.

It will warn: "Before buying a pig, hobby keepers and owners of pet pigs or ‘micro’ pigs must make sure they are aware of, and understand their obligations, so they can keep their animals fit, healthy and legally compliant and help them to avoid unwittingly spreading disease."

Sick pigs can pass on zoonotic diseases to humans, which can include the skin condition erysipeloid and the bacterium Streptococcus suis, which can lead to illness including meningitis and deafness in humans.

Jim Paice, the British farming minister, said: "A pig is a farm animal, not a pet for Christmas. A micro-pig may sound like a popular gift idea – but beware the pig that grows too big. This year already I’ve heard some interesting stories about micro-pigs becoming bigger and outgrowing their homes. So if you’d like to see pigs this festive season, pop along to your local petting farm."

Just not one of those E. coli petting farms.

Pork, the other white meat, takes on new meaning: Argentina President says pork better than Viagra for boosting sex

In a move to apparently counteract the negative associations with swine flu, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner told a gathering of business people at a meeting at the presidential palace that eating pork is at least as effective as popping a Viagra pill to spice up your sex life, stating,

"Pork consumption improves sexual activity. This is not a small detail. Besides, some nicely grilled pork is much more gratifying than taking Viagra."

Kirchner said she ate some roasted pork over the weekend with her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, at the couple’s retreat in Argentina’s bucolic southern Patagonia region, with "impressive" results.
"We were in high spirits the whole weekend," she said, smiling.

The head of the association of pork producers, Juan Uccelli, on Thursday said people in Denmark and Japan, where pork consumption is high, "have much more harmonious sexual lives than us Argentines have."