Religion and Social Context Influence Food Choice

Despite the indisputable fact that “of all domesticated mammals, pigs possess the greatest potential for swiftly and efficiently changing plants into flesh” there remains a social taboo in some cultures and religions deterring individuals from eating pork (Harris 59).  Religious aversion to pork as a source of sustenance may be a result of  the view that pigs are filthy creatures who eat feces and even turn to cannibalism if nothing better presents itself, but ignoring the fact that pigs in fact prefer foods such as grains, nuts, and roots.  Along the same lines, in the nineteenth century, it was discovered that undercooked pork could carry trichinosis.  However, this does not answer the age old question of why pork has been sequestered to the “do not eat” list in certain religious traditions and social contexts.  Eating undercooked meat of other animals carry similar risks of disease, for example, undercooked beef has a risk of being a source for tapeworms.  Pigs are seemingly no different from other animals as a source of health related risks, but pigs nonetheless are socially unacceptable to eat for certain individuals.




Harris, Marvin. “The Abominable Pig.” Trans. Array Food and Culture. . 3rd. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. 59-71. Print.