It's a federal crime to sell a pig carcass if it has a 'pronounced sexual odor.'

When I first read that quote from Mike Chase, a criminal defence lawyer, I had to re-read it about 4 times before I looked into what it meant. Krissy Clark explained what a ‘pronounced sexual odor’ was in more detail and it makes sense:

Between 10 and 20 percent of uncastrated male pigs have, well, the technical term is “boar taint.” It’s pheromones, which animals produce when they come into heat. Walter Jeffries, a pig farmer in rural Vermont, told us “sexual” doesn’t really do the smell justice.

“Go grab a guy and have him sweat on an undershirt for you real well, and that’s the smell,” he said. “To me it smells like shit and armpits.”

You still might be wondering though: Why did the government have to get involved? If people don’t want smelly meat, they don’t have to buy it, right? But here’s the thing: You can only smell boar taint when the meat is warm, not when you buy it refrigerated at the store.

So an unscrupulous pig farmer might be tempted to sell a little tainted meat, knowing it’d go unnoticed until some unsuspecting bacon-lover goes and cooks it. If enough sexual-smelling pork gets in to the pork supply, people are just going stop buying pork.  

Which is where title 21, sections 610 and 676 of the U.S. code of statutes, and title 9, section 311.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations come in. If you’re caught selling a pig carcass with a pronounced sexual odor, you could face up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine. It’s a crime, one that’s maybe not quite as ridiculous as it first sounds.  

In summary, selling pork with strong sex smells could land you in jail and with a fine. Walter’s description was hilarious and may live with me longer than the title of this blog post. The downside is I can smell “shit and armpits” now and I’m nowhere near an abattoir.

Related to illegal animal meat: What was François Mitterrand’s final meal and why was it so controversial?

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