Yogurt, Potato Chips: Ideal Pig Diet

ByABC News
January 8, 2001, 9:16 AM

D E S   M O I N E S, Iowa, Jan. 8 -- Pigs gobbling potato chips could resultin better-tasting pork chops and sows savoring yogurt could lead toa reduction of salmonella in pork.

Those are conclusions from studies that researchers at IowaState and Ohio State universities are making into the diets ofswine.

The Iowa research project is feeding hogs a yogurt-like food inhopes of lowering salmonella levels in the animals. A three-year,$600,000 grant from the U.S. Agriculture Department is paying IowaState to test alternatives to antibiotics in swine.

Salmonella sickens up to 4 million Americans a year. Somestrains have become resistant to antibiotics, said Hank Harris, amicrobiologist involved with the project.

Potato Chips Make Pigs Fat Fast

If resistant salmonella makes it to humans through food, itcould pass its resistance to other organisms, making treatment ofhuman diseases harder, Harris said.

Preliminary studies indicate salmonella levels have been reducedin young pigs fed milk containing Lactobacillus, a bacterium takenfrom the pigs intestinal tracts. It is also a common yogurtculture.

Were basically feeding yogurt to pigs, Harris said.

Ohio State researchers found that potato chips put weight onyoung pigs faster than a regular corn diet because the oil in thechips supplies hogs with more energy than corn, said Sha Rahnema,an animal nutritionist at the Agricultural Technical Institute inWooster, Ohio.

We found that replacing 10 to 15 percent of the corn workedbest, Rahnema said.

More research will be conducted to see how the chip diet affectssows and chickens.

Juicier, Tastier Pork

Chip research began in 1995 as a class project when studentswere asked to come up with alternative feed sources for hogs. Theproximity of a Shearers Foods Co. potato chip factory led theyoung researchers to the snack food.

Shearers donated small, discolored or broken chips, which weremixed with other hog feed ingredients.