pork meat

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Raw neck piece with bone from pork
Selling pork in Hong Kong

Pork is a collective term for those parts of the domestic pig that are suitable for consumption . In Europe and East Asia , pork is the most common type of meat eaten.


The domestic pig is one of the longest domesticated pets in the history of human civilization and is kept almost exclusively for meat production. As an omnivore, it used to be used to recycle kitchen waste, but this is now prohibited in many countries for reasons of hygiene. In rural areas, pigs are sometimes still kept outside of farms today, but these are exceptions due to restrictions on home slaughter . Today around half of the pork produced worldwide comes from intensive animal husbandry .

Economical meaning

The greatest producers

According to the food and agriculture organization FAO, around 121 million tons of pork were produced worldwide in 2018 .

The following table gives an overview of the twenty largest producers of pork worldwide, which produced 88.8% of the total.

Largest pork producers (2018)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
  rank country Quantity
(in t)
1 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 54.037.400 11 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 1,873,063
2 United StatesUnited States United States 11,942,965 12 DenmarkDenmark Denmark 1,583,247
3 GermanyGermany Germany 5,369,944 13 MexicoMexico Mexico 1,502,521
4th SpainSpain Spain 4,530,474 14th ItalyItaly Italy 1,470,671
5 VietnamVietnam Vietnam 3,816,414 15th NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 1,461,345
6th BrazilBrazil Brazil 3,787,660 16 Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 1,324,718
7th RussiaRussia Russia 3,744,170 17th JapanJapan Japan 1,284,225
8th FranceFrance France 2,166,417 18th BelgiumBelgium Belgium 1,073,121
9 CanadaCanada Canada 2,142,283 19th MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar 1,063,087
10 PolandPoland Poland 2,135,800 20th ThailandThailand Thailand 999.227
world 120.881.267


Germany had an export surplus of 229,364 tons of pork in 2016. (The import of pork was 808,295 tons, the export was 1,037,659 tons of meat.) 15,542,605 live pigs were imported to Germany for fattening and 2,464,606 animals were exported.

While the Germans exported almost five percent less to EU countries in 2015, exports to China grew by 17 percent to 379,000 tons compared to the previous year. With 13.3 percent of German pork exports and around 386,000 tons, Italy was the main buyer in 2015.

EU exports totaled around 2.4 million tonnes in the first eight months of 2018. Exports to China and South Korea are constantly increasing . China is the EU's main customer. In 2017, Switzerland exported 2,228 tons of pork, 18,902 tons of slaughter by-products and 44 tons of meat preparations. Switzerland too wants to deliver pig feet , ears , tails and snouts to China in the future . The free trade agreement between Switzerland and China serves as the basis . Swiss Nutrivalor, a subsidiary of Centravo , received approval in 2019 to export pork products to China. In 2019, the degree of self-sufficiency in Switzerland was 93 percent.

In 2018, pork with a total value of around 24.1 billion euros was traded across borders worldwide. The USA was the most important international export country in terms of export value, just ahead of Germany and Spain. A look at the ten most important export countries shows that the majority of the pork traded internationally comes from EU countries and North America.

Pork export countries worldwide (2018)
# country Exports (in € million)
1 United StatesUnited States United States 3,897
2 GermanyGermany Germany 3,738
3 SpainSpain Spain 3,415
4th DenmarkDenmark Denmark 2.213
5 CanadaCanada Canada 2,054
6th NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 1,816
7th BelgiumBelgium Belgium 1,156
8th BrazilBrazil Brazil 907
9 PolandPoland Poland 872
10 FranceFrance France 756


The following table gives an overview of the ten largest consumers of pork worldwide (in kg / person / year).

Largest pork consumers (2013)
rank country kg / head / year
1 MacauMacau Macau 71.48
2 Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong 67.11
3 MontenegroMontenegro Montenegro 53.04
4th AustriaAustria Austria 52.56
5 GermanyGermany Germany 51.81
6th SpainSpain Spain 48.92
7th PolandPoland Poland 46.19
8th LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 45.67
9 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 43.58
10 CroatiaCroatia Croatia 42.79
Average world 15.20

Between 1998 and 2013, worldwide pork consumption was at a relatively constant level of 15 kilograms per capita per year. In 1961 it was still 8 kg. Austria had the highest per capita pork consumption of the EU countries in 2013 with 52.56 kilograms per capita.

In terms of global consumption in 2013, China led by far (average for Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland), followed by Europe and North America .

In 2018, pork consumption in Switzerland was 21.6 kilograms per capita.



Eating undercooked or undercooked pork carries the risk of infection with the hepatitis E virus. The disease of Hepatitis E usually takes place without symptoms in Europe, but can also show serious symptoms. Around every sixth European has already been infected with genotype 3, which is common there. Immunocompromised people guesses the Robert Koch Institute from the consumption of raw, just ripened and adobe house and wild boar products such as ground pork and short-ripened raw sausages (z. B. fresh sausage) and not least, heated to 70 ° C domestic and wild boar meat from. Genotypes 1 and 2, which are widespread in southern countries, are mainly ingested through faecal contamination when eating and drinking.

Religious pork bans

The consumption of pork is forbidden in both the Jewish and Islamic dietary laws . In addition, pork is avoided by the seven-day Adventists , Rastafarians and members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church .

Social debate about the offer of alternative dishes in public canteens

  • Denmark : In January 2016, the city council of the Danish city of Randers sparked a “meatball war”. It was decided that pork should also be offered in the public canteens.
  • Germany : The CDU parliamentary group leader in Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, filed an application against a pork ban, as more and more canteens, daycare centers and schools were taking pork out of their offer in order to take Muslim customs into account. Integration does not work if the majority adapts to a minority in advance obedience . The CDU is not planning a “pork obligation”. The operators put forward mainly practical arguments: Cooking pork-free for only some of the children is too complicated.
  • France : The school canteens in France have had so-called substitute dishes for over 30 years when pork is part of the daily special. In 2016, some mayors tried to ban these alternative courts for Muslims and Jews, insofar as this was not religiously neutral. Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy supports this: The constitutionally anchored "principle of secularity" prohibits a division of the school menus according to religion.

See also

Web links

Commons : Pork  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: pork  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Livestock primary> Meat, pig. In: Official FAO production statistics for 2018. fao.org, accessed on April 7, 2020 .
  2. Trade> Crops and livestock products> Meat, pig. In: Official FAO trade statistics for 2016. fao.org, accessed April 15, 2019 .
  3. Trade> Live animals> Pigs. In: Official FAO trade statistics for 2016. fao.org, accessed April 15, 2019 .
  4. The top 8 export countries for German pork . Agrarheute portal , April 5, 2016; accessed on February 11, 2017
  5. Christian Brüggemann: Germany remains the largest pork exporter in the EU. In: topagrar.com. November 7, 2018, accessed November 7, 2018 .
  6. ↑ Agricultural Report 2018 - Meat and Eggs. In: agrarbericht.ch . Retrieved June 24, 2019 .
  7. Philipp Felber-Eisele: Pig ears and feet for the Chinese. In: tagesanzeiger.ch . June 14, 2019, accessed June 24, 2019 .
  8. Green light for export - Swiss pig's feet for China. In: srf.ch . June 14, 2019, accessed June 24, 2019 .
  9. Pork: Fatteners satisfied. In: schweizerbauer.ch . December 11, 2017, accessed January 12, 2020 .
  10. Trade Map - List of exporters for the selected product (Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen). Retrieved February 7, 2020 .
  11. a b c Food Supply - Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent> Crops and livestock products> Pigmeat. In: Official FAO consumption statistics for 2013. fao.org, accessed on April 15, 2019 .
  12. The Swiss Pig Market 2018. (PDF; 16.4 MB) In: blw.admin.ch . June 24, 2019, accessed October 20, 2019 .
  13. Questions and answers on the transmission of the hepatitis E virus by wild pigs and domestic pigs and the foods obtained from them - BfR. Retrieved October 24, 2018 .
  14. a b RKI - RKI-Ratgeber - Hepatitis E. Retrieved on October 24, 2018 .
  15. Out of consideration for Muslims, more and more schools and daycare centers are doing without pork - this is now causing a dispute