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Consuming Aussie wild pork

23 Jul 2014
@ 12:21 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

It seems that here in Aus, wild pigs are just shot and left for the carrion because "they're full of vermin". Everyone I have spoken to in regard to this have all "heard" the same and shiver at the thought of consuming such filth. On my previous hunt the boys shot a nice porker, not too big and to be honest, a really good, healthy looking pig. It was just left there and it seemed a real waste. I have found one bow hunter on an aussie forum that does indeed eat what he kills, but I would like to see some actual evidence of the risks or at least hear from someone with ACTUAL experience in this. I'm not interested in "my mate told me once..." etc - I do not wish to offend and if someone could give a a direction to head that would be appreciated. Thanks


23 Jul 2014
@ 04:24 am (GMT)

thomas kitchen

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
hi mike I'm probably not much help but as a pig hunter here i have seen this come up before on pig hunting sites the (stick and Kick) craziness to us kiwi's.
the only serious reason not to eat them i have heard is a infection worm (not sure name sorry) that can sometimes been seen in the meat, the picture i saw was a decent size worm pulled out with tweezers but can be removed or killed by cooking.
i wouldn't rely on that but might point you in the right direction sorry i can't be more help
23 Jul 2014
@ 04:26 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Thanks Thom, appreciate anything and everything
23 Jul 2014
@ 04:28 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
I hope someone comes forwards with first hand experience to help you. There is a big difference between "pigs can carry" versus "pigs do carry x disease in Australia". many times domestic cattle are the culprits of disease carrying. feral animals tend to get the blame.

All of the diseases I have seen listed for pigs in Australia can be killed by freezing meat, then cooking it. Slow and long is the rule for cooking pork anyway. However, there is a risk when handling game prior to cooking.

Lets look at what has been said about Australian pigs in the potential disease department:

Murray Valley Encephalitis

Parasites and parasite born bacterial infections.

Other potential diseases not commonly mentioned include:

Cattle can be equally effected by these diseases and most of these diseases can be found in many countries of the world. If you really wanted to play it safe- you would never leave home and never eat any wild game meat!

I think the first thing to understand is that generally speaking, a healthy carcass is a healthy carcass. Body condition (weight) should be observed, the tail checked for diarrhea etc. Internal organs should be uniform in color and appearance.

lepto can be seen as white spots on the liver. You can research the other potential diseases on the list below and make yourself a laminated flash card to identify symptoms.

According to Australian health research, MVE can only be transferred to humans via mosquito bites. You will need to research this more to be sure.

Old Brucy shows as lesions on the body and kidney. you can use Google (images) key words: Brucellosis lesions swine.

In conclusion:
1. Hopefully someone replies to your thread that can verify the frequency of diseases in Australian feral pigs.
2. You research potential diseases for yourself and perhaps create a flash card / check list.

OK, I hope that gives you some direction, even if nobody else comes forwards.

23 Jul 2014
@ 07:45 am (GMT)


Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Pigs have a very similar digestive system to humans and can carry a significant amount of parasites and human pathogens. This coupled with the unhygienic circumstances of dealing with them in the field first and then finishing the butchering either back at camp or home all contributes to a heightened level of risk. But then, I know of people who were raised on wild pork.

Check the liver n heart for disease - gut n clean them correctly - keep the meat at least cool - maintain good hygiene - read up on how it should all be done. There are good books out there on the topic.
23 Jul 2014
@ 11:24 pm (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
From what I have found, Nathan is on to it. Bacteria won't be killed by freezing, but cooking thoroughly will sort them out. Worms etc will be killed by freezing. But from what I read of symptoms, as Nathan said, watch the animal and if it behaves normally and appears healthy, it probably is. Seems like a fair amount of symtoms are covered by noticeable lesions, partial paralysis (of the hind quarter) and wasting. Check the offal, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver - also cast an eye on the intestinal tract form adhesions - where the intestines stick together. Here are the links I mostly used.
This is a PDF from the Aussie government science research people
Gives a good over view of the main diseases

Also pays to wear gloves and practise good hygienic technique. Don't touch your face with contaminated hands or get splashed by fluids etc.
23 Jul 2014
@ 11:30 pm (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
And of course Mr Dingo was on to it too!
23 Jul 2014
@ 11:38 pm (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Sorry one more thing. The "worms in the meat" look like they are Sparaga and it they deposit themselves in between the muscle groups in the Fascia (layer that covers each muscle group). The recommendation for this is to check the fascia on the hind legs, if there are less than 5 lesions then freeze at -10 for 10 days. But to be honest I wouldn't risk my lovely wife having a "worm surprise" event at the dinner table and if found, I'd probably discard it.
24 Jul 2014
@ 12:52 am (GMT)

thomas kitchen

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
mike have you got a local butcher / homekill? after you do all the field dressing and inspection it might be worth getting it proceed at least the first one anyway just for peace of mind for you and your family as most butchers are good guys that if they notice something wrong will let you know.
plus you can't beat wild pork and garlic sausages or salami
24 Jul 2014
@ 02:26 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
I thought there was at one stage quite a busy chiller trade in the outback. It was active during the 1990'?. Does anyone remember this or have I remembered incorrectly?
24 Jul 2014
@ 03:40 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Hi Guys
There's still chillers inland taking Roo's, Deer & pigs depending on export demand. You need a special licence, ABN# etc just incase you make money without telling Tony. You have to pass an accuracy test, safe food handling lessons and a vehicle that passes the health inspectors requirement's. You need to buy tags for Roo's if you can get them.
25 Jul 2014
@ 03:17 am (GMT)

thomas kitchen

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
bit off topic but i remember seeing a story (maybe on 60mins or 20/20) about roo's and culls in oz.
they were saying a lot of the roo meat was going to russia but the greeny's animal rights people got involved and convinced the wrong people it was contaminated from an unhygienic environment,
which hit the industry hard just was wondering if there any truth in it? not very trusting of reporters.
just be a shame if meat was cull and wasted like it is here
29 Aug 2016
@ 06:18 am (GMT)


Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
I know I'm resurrecting an old thread, but no-one had actually replied with first hand experience, so I thought I would now as it might be of interest to future readers.

The short answer is yes, we always ate the wild pig we harvested.

From about 10 years old, I used to go pig shooting with my father.

Several times a year, we'd travel to a town in Southern NSW and camp along the Murrumbidgee river. About 10klm from our camp, there was a large area of crown land that was covered with lignum reaching 8 or 9 ft high which is where we used to hunt.

When we shot a pig, on gutting it, we'd examine the organs for parasites.
Not once did we find a pig that we rejected. Wild pig is a completely different flavour to domestic pig.

Because we went there quite often, we became well known with the locals of the area. It was common that someone would go out, get a pig and put it on an open fire spit with plenty of people getting drunk into the night.

I don't know of anyone who has had issues with eating wild pig.
Check the liver especially.
29 Aug 2016
@ 06:24 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Thanks Gordo, good to know. Cheers
30 Aug 2016
@ 08:25 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
i dont eat them but i know a bit about food handling and have worked in biosecurity/pest management

in short cooking is the key to killing the disease. HEAT. thats why hot food is kept hot and dishes are washed in hot water.

Good hygeine in the field will help and look for the tell tale sign that the others have noted.

Keep it clean if you want to eat it. your own hair on your head is full of bad bacteria that can cause food poisoning if you leave it on your food so imagine what germs may be on an animals hide.

Some people say deer are disease ridden but we probably dont look at them the same way we look at feral pigs. (well maybe through a scope)

Spoiled food does not neccessarily mean it has bactreria in it. it can appear OK or smell OK but still make you sick. it may smell off but not have an actual germ to cause food poisoning.

Be concerned for your own safety when proccessing feral pigs. ther are other disease like Brucella suis. there is research into other pig diseases and try google blood,guts and knife cuts that may have some interesting results.

Be safe and be clean.

Nathan remembers correctly. australia did have a good number of pig chillers in the late 80s early 90s and there are still some to date in areas where it is still viable.
The operator i knew in western NSW said the market was for Germany, they actually paid a premium for bigger pigs so the biggest, ugliest smelliest pigs got better dollars than the younger possibly more tender stuff

i like my pork brined and smoked (ham and Bacon) so i just buy it and dispatch the ferals as a matter of course for pest control.
18 Sep 2016
@ 07:45 am (GMT)

Rob Kennedy

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
I asked a landowner/farmer, who lives near the Darling River in NSW, a few weeks ago whether he ate wild pig and he said , generally, no. But he had caught piglets and raised them up on good food and they were OK. His objection was that where he lived the food they ate(rotten kangaroo corpses etc) made the meat taste foul. I guess if you killed some that had been raiding a farmer's grain crops for their meals maybe this would not be a problem.
25 Sep 2016
@ 10:13 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Has anyone found some solid evidence for/against? I should rephrase that: Has anyone found any studies done by universities or other bodies into the feral pig population and the diseases/parasites they carry?

I found plenty on the effect wild pigs would have if foot & mouth ever made to Oz/NZ, all of which are pretty dire, but none specifically on the pigs themselves. Searching their scietific name could help too: Sus scrofa
28 Jan 2017
@ 08:48 am (GMT)

Carsten Pedersen

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Hi Mike et al.

I originally come from Denmark and we had a small 30 acre farm where we amongst other things, bred wild porkers.

Very similar to the ones we shoot in the bush in size and meat colour were slightly darker than the port you find in the supermarkets.

Flavour is more gamey and should not be over cooked like all meats.

Our pigs were fed a combination of bought pig feed along with food scraps including meat, veg and fruit.

I have taken the back straps of pigs here in Australia, they are a high quality meat, easy to keep clean and carry but there is nothing wrong with other cuts at all.

As mentioned before, it is important to make sure the pig is healthy, looks in good condition, have healthy eyes etc.
Gut the pig straight away to get rid of heat and look for the same vital signs as you would a deer, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and the gut should look healthy.

My only concern is keeping meat clean as they wallow in mud and will clean a pig as soon as possible with running water and a stiff brush.
Best way to get hairs off is either by scolding or a gas torch.

My personal preference is smaller pigs for good flavour and easy of cleaning/meat handling.

Apart from the back straps, the pieces between the last rib and the back legs are superb (I think these are the loins), slice the fat almost down to the meat 1 cm apart and rub with salt, cooked just right, you get pork cracklings and a roast fit for kings. Serve with dark gravy from the fat drippings, small caramelised potatoes (Sugar and butter on a frying pan) and sweet pickled beetroot and you cannot go wrong, especially with a good Sauvignon or Saint Emillion.
28 Jan 2017
@ 04:37 pm (GMT)

Trace Jacoby

Re: Consuming Aussie wild pork
Hi all,

I'm not what one would consider an expert on the topic, by any means, but I raised domestic pigs in Texas for the first 20 years of my life. In doing so, I paid a lot of attention to such topics and went on to study meat science at a university for two years before changing to another field of study. That being said, I may only remember enough to get myself into trouble, but here it goes.

So far, all responses have been pretty much right on. There is a worm (roundworm) called Trichinella that can be found in Pork, which causes a parasitic disease called Trichinosis. This used to be much more common in the US due to the conditions in which pigs were raised, which was to feed them "slop" (any kind of leftover or spoiled food that you were throwing out) and they would pick it up from that. Wild hogs can still get it, due to the fact that their food source in the wild could be contaminated with it. However, domestic pork in the US is now considered to be virtually free of this due to pigs being fed grain and kept clean. The way to kill the larvae is to cook meat to the proper temperature and avoid raw pork. I remember a professor telling the class that some people think the only way to cook pork is to cook the ever living hell out of it. Why? Because that's how grandma taught them from a time when there was a significant risk.

As mentioned, pork can carry other diseases. The primary one that causes concern in Texas is Brucellosis. My wife is a Veterinarian and so she pays close attention to local and statewide disease trends in both domestic and wild animals. There was a local man within the last year who contracted Brucellosis from an infected wild pig. It is unclear whether it was through the consumption of undercooked meat or during gutting the animal and not washing his hands properly. As mentioned in previous posts, cleanliness is important. And as Nathan mentioned, the pigs are not always at fault for these diseases. My wife said that the US department of Agriculture has relaxed its stance on vaccinating cattle for brucellosis, which has caused an increase in the risk of it being spread to wild animals. As another poster mentioned, Deer are also at risk for carrying brucellosis, although i haven't heard of any transmission to humans in a long time.

This my not directly answer your question regarding pork in Australia, but I hope it helps and I hope it helps any readers in the US. The main thing to remember is to keep the meat clean, wash your hands and cook it properly. I personally don't care for the taste of wild pork, as I had been spoiled for so many years eating fat domestic hogs, but I do not hesitate to eat it when someone else prepares it, provided it appears to have been cooked correctly.

Trace Jacoby


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