Is it safe to eat meat from male pigs?
Yes. It is safe to eat meat from male pigs. However, if a control method has not been performed, the meat may have an unpleasant aroma when cooked or eaten.

If the meat is safe to eat, why is controlling off odors necessary?
Research shows that up to 50% of consumers, especially women, can easily detect these offensive odors in cooked pork. Controlling off odors is necessary to protect the quality experience of eating pork.

Why don't consumers notice any unpleasant aroma in cooked pork?
Traditionally, farmers have managed off odors by surgically castrating male pigs. That’s why most consumers have never experienced an unpleasant smell – farmers use tight management protocols to ensure the highest quality eating experience.

What other methods are available to manage off odors?
Until recently, the primary form of off-odor control in pork has been surgical castration. Other options farmers have explored with varying degrees of success include early marketing, genetic selection and  nutrition management (see Controlling unpleasant aromas for more detailed information). With the recent FDA approval of immunological control, farmers now have another safe and effective option to manage these unpleasant aromas in pork from male pigs.

Why is the problem only in male pigs?
The odors are primarily related to male sexual maturation and are not as much a problem in female pigs.

Is immunological control a hormone?
No.  This control method uses a protein compound that has absolutely no hormonal activity.  It works like an immunization to temporarily create the same effect as surgical castration.  It provides a safe and effective alternative to manage the substances responsible for the unpleasant aromas in cooked pork from male pigs.  FDA has confirmed that it is safe to eat meat from male pigs that have been given an immunological product to control these unpleasant aromas – technically known as "boar taint."

Flavorful, versatile pork is the most highly consumed animal protein in the world.