The cost of pork has hit an all-time high recently due to a virus that is killing young pigs. PEDv is not a food safety concern for those enjoying pork chops, pork tenderloin or even bacon, as it is not transmitted to humans.
However, the virus, which has killed an estimated 7 million piglets in the past year, may give consumers a reason to rethink their meat shopping habits and consider buying products with “grass-fed” or “USDA 100 percent organic” on the label. (According to veterinary medicine experts at the University of Florida, overuse of antibiotics at concentrated animal feeding operations may be the cause of the virus.)
My favorite way to enjoy pork is Berry and Basil Pork Salad, grilled pork tenderloin slices on a bed of baby spinach leaves drizzled with a berry and basil salad dressing.
Pork has eight times more thiamine and four times more riboflavin (two important B vitamins) than beef, and until recently, was easier on the food budget.
The fresh berry dressing brings vitamin C and folate. (Frozen berries can be substituted for convenience.) Those who dislike all the seeds in the berries can strain the dressing in a fine-mesh sieve, but remember, the seeds provide nutrients and fiber.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.
Berry and Basil Pork Salad
1 (12- to 16-ounce) pork tenderloin
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blackberries
¾ cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
9 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Grill or broil pork tenderloin until meat thermometer registers 145 degrees.
Place on cutting board. Let stand until ready to slice.
Combine onion, vinegar, salt, blackberries, raspberries, basil leaves and olive oil in blender or food processor. Cover and puree until smooth.