Dear Friends,

In 1987 the writer was rather annoyed at the contemptuous dismissal by Mary Douglas in her work the Abominations of Leviticus and as published by Lesser and Vogt in their Reader in Comparative Religion, (Fourth Edition) dealing with the Food Laws in the Pentateuch. Knowing the assertions to be contrary to the known science it was decided necessary to write a paper dealing with the matter using the most up to date science available from the resources at the Australian National University. The writer is a graduate of that University in two faculties and holds a double major in both Philosophy and Religious Studies among other studies there and a graduate degree at another university. 

In addition to Leviticus 11 there is also a complete restatement in Deuteronomy as follows.

Deuteronomy 14:2-21 … for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. 3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. 4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, 5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. 6 And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat. 7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. 8 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. 9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: 10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. 11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat. 12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and ossifrage, and the ospray, 13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, 14 And every raven after his kind, 15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, 17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, 18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. 19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. 20 But of all clean fowls ye may eat. 21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (KJV)

The paper was later issued as The Foodlaws (No. 15) by CCG in 1994. The introduction is as follows.

“For centuries man has developed eating habits and consumed creatures around him on an availability basis. He has developed tastes and sometimes it seems that the more exotic the foods, the more desirable they seem and are more keenly sought.

The concept of restricted dietary habits is not a new thing and stems from the most ancient of civilisations and often given a religious symbolism.

At Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, the Bible contains specific rules or laws regarding which foods may be eaten; how the animals are to be killed; how their bodies may be disposed of; and also, what parts of those animals may not be eaten, e.g. the fat and the blood. The terminology of the Bible is that of clean and unclean meats and so this terminology is continued.

Throughout the centuries, many peoples have attempted to debunk the validity of the biblical food laws or treat them as applying only to the Jews, or as done away with by the New Testament. Some biblical rationalists have even argued that the food laws were done away with at Acts 10 despite the clear intention of the message and the explanation at chapter 11. Its specific symbolism is for the admission of the Gentiles to the Church and in fact reinforces the validity of the food laws. The passage at Acts 15 is also used to argue the cessation of the food laws.

These food laws have been kept by the Churches of God continually and this phenomenon has been commented on by the most eminent scholars. During the Spanish Inquisition, one of the ways of detecting so-called heretics of the Church of God was by their obedience to the food laws (see C. Roth, The Spanish Inquisition). Jews and Muslims were also included in this category and many were put to death.” (cf. also Roth’s Translation of the Edict of the Faith in the appendix to the paper Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath–Keeping Churches of God (No. 170))

The [Arabian prophet Qasim] called Mohammed restated the requirement of the food laws. He made a specific dispensation for the desert tribes to be able to eat camel (previously unclean) provided it was butchered in a specific way; (that is the flanks only could be eaten provided it was cut into strips). Qasim (Mohammed) stated that what was lawful for Jews to eat was lawful for Moslems and vice versa. Unfortunately, he did not restate the food laws but merely issued a food proscription similar to Acts 15 with the specific mention of swine flesh and the general term of carrion so that, from this, later Islam came to ignore the food laws except for these broader guidelines.

“Anthropologists and students of Comparative Religion have examined the food laws from the point of view of ritual taboos of a more primitive and unenlightened culture. Some assume that they had some hygiene relevance but are no longer relevant today with improved hygiene standards. Others view them as baseless taboos and attempt to classify them on this basis.

One such work by Mary Douglas (Purity and Danger, London, 1966) has led to the inclusion of dietary laws in the classification of taboos within a magical framework of primitive religions. She argues that the only sound approach to viewing these laws is to:

… forget hygiene, aesthetics, morals and instinctive revulsion, even to forget the Canaanites and the Zoroastrian Magi and start with the texts. Since each of the injunctions is prefaced by the command to be holy, so they must be explained by that command. There must be contrariness between holiness and abomination which make overall sense of all the particular restrictions.

Lesser and Vogt state that she argues that the abominations are animals that appear anomalous in the classification of natural things handed down by God in Genesis. By avoiding what in nature challenges God’s order, man confirms that order. Through a dietary observ­ance, God is made holy – separate and whole (Lesser & Vogt, Reader in Comparative Religion, 4th Ed., Ch. ‘An Anthropological Approach’, Harper and Row, 1979, pp. 149-152).

Unfortunately, neither Mary Douglas nor Lesser & Vogt bothered to examine the matter outside the narrow confines of anthropology. They did not test the laws for simple hygiene and health effects. The command to be holy was looked at in the form of taboos rather than the maintenance of a healthy body as the temple of God, which is the clear biblical reason. They just did not do their homework because, contrary to Douglas’ opinion that the food laws are mere taboos based on locomotor functions and the blind acceptance by anthro­pologists and academics of comparative religion of this assertion, they are in fact demonstrable rules for the selection of those foods which maintain the body in a healthy condition and minimise toxins and disease. Every single one is a demonstrable fact. The worst accusation that can be levelled at an academic can be made against these anthropologists. They were not only wrong, but also they were wilfully ignorant.

This work looks at the food laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 with a systematic analysis of each category in the light of the most recent scientific research conducted in each category. Some of the research has been done over many years, some is new and some is the result of recent examination of older data.

Identification of Clean Animals

Whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

These two distinctions, i.e. a cloven hoof and a cud chewer, were the marks of the clean ruminants. Some animals chewed the cud but did not have cloven hoofs like the camel, the coney and the hare. This family down to the rabbit is unclean. It is noted, however, that Mohammed gave dispensation to the desert tribes to eat camel under certain conditions. This is the only known alteration to the food laws amongst the descendants of Abraham. The fact that they are largely ignored, and Islam limits the application of the term carrion thereby eating any abomination save swine and land carnivores, does not affect their existence and relevance.

Swine flesh
The swine is the reverse of the distinction in that it has a cloven hoof but is not a cud chewer. Of all the world’s animals, the pig is regarded as one of the most unclean. The general prohibition on all swine flesh is probably also the most broken. People have the tendency to excuse their consumption now as a basis of “Oh well, that was then when there was poor hygiene. Nowadays with improved health regulations and refrigeration it does not apply.” But the facts are that it very much does apply. The consumption of swine flesh is an Assyrian and Babylonian predilection and they and the Celts took it with them into Europe.

Recent research into swine flesh has led to some amazing results. Firstly, the swine is easily the most involved of all the animals in the transmission of infectious diseases to man. No other animal is comparable.

There is, however, one aspect of swine flesh consumption, which stands out above all the rest and is of such a type that no amount of hygiene or sterilisation or disease control will eliminate. This aspect is the causal relationship between swine flesh and cirrhosis of the liver. On 23 March 1985, Lancet, published the findings of Drs. Amin A. Nanji and Samuel W. French on the Relationship Between Pork Consumption and Cirrhosis (pp. 681-683). These eminent liver specialists found, by analysing statistics over 16 countries (concerning the effects of alcohol, pork, beef and fat consumption), that the correlation between cirrhosis mortality and the product of ethanol and pork consumption for the 16 countries was highly significant. However, when the study was restricted to 7 countries with a narrow range of alcohol consumption (7.5 - 11.01 caput/yr) and a wide range of cirrhosis mortality (2-18 deaths/100,000), the correlation between cirrhosis mortality and alcohol consumption was not significant. In contrast, the correlation between pork consumption and cirrhosis mortality for the same 7 countries was highly significant.

From 1970s data they were able to conclude that the correlation between alcohol consumption and mortality for 11 countries was 0.54 compared to the correlation between pork consumption and cirrhosis mortality per 100,000 for the same 11 countries at 0.89. They concluded that the correlation between pork consumption and mortality from cirrhosis was highly significant. This correlation was especially impressive in the countries with a relatively low per caput consumption of alcohol (<10 p/caput/yr) and low correlation between alcohol consumption and cirrhosis. The population of these countries has a low carrier rate for hepatitis B virus, thus excluding infectious hepatitis as an explanation for the difference in cirrhosis mortality.

Of major significance were the statistics for the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland). In 1978, alcohol consumption in these countries was among the lowest in Europe. The mortality rate from cirrhosis for 1978 was directly related to per caput pork consumption in these countries. In Canada, the mortality from cirrhosis in each province also correlated with pork consumption but not with alcohol intake. They concluded that:

How pork might cause or enhance cirrhosis is unknown. The fat content of beef and pork is similar (they are apparently talking of high fat beef or non range fed beef) but pork contains more linoleic acid than beef.

We have shown that the amount of pork consumed correlates strongly with mortality from cirrhosis. We are impressed enough by the strength of the correlation between cirrhosis mortality and the product of alcohol and pork consumption to speculate that pork may be the facilitating factor suggested by Beazell and Ivy. (This was a report on the Influence of alcohol on the digestive tract published in Quart J Studies Alcohol, 1940, 1:45-73.)

It appears that the high incidence of cirrhosis among alcoholics is due to a facilitation by alcohol of the effect of some as yet undetermined substance (p. 683).

These doctors have demonstrated the undetermined facilitating factor speculated in 1940 by Beazell and Ivy; isolating this substance to be contained within the flesh of swine. Its very composition renders the problem, and this is one of the reasons why the swine is outlawed. When the term pork is used, it refers to all swine products – bacon and sausages containing pig meat as well. It is worth noting that cirrhosis of the liver is a problem amongst Indian children of Hindu background who consume no alcohol but consume pork rather than beef. The conclusions are that alcohol by itself is not a cause of cirrhosis of the liver. However, with pork consumption the incidence is high and alcohol and pork together appear to be a serious danger.

It took until 1985 for the human race to finally demonstrate what Moses was told by the Eternal at Sinai: “The pig is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat and their carcass shall ye not touch: they are unclean to you”.

The clean animals include not only the various species of cattle, sheep and goats, but also all of the forms of deer and gazelle, even to the giraffe – all of the buffalo and the grazing herds generally. The horse and its species such as the ass and the zebra are unclean. Virtually everything else is unclean including all of the reptiles, the rodents and the weasels and ferrets.

However, there are various forms of locusts and grasshoppers which are clean to eat, if we feel so inclined, and these are found at Leviticus 11:22. “

This paper has been available for 25 years. In spite of that fact not much has been done about it and the US authorities have tried to defend pork consumption and downplay the proven nexus between pork consumption and cirrhosis of the liver. Their peculiar attitudes to alcohol also lead many of them to try to downplay the relationship between pork and alcohol and attempt to make a connection between alcohol and cirrhosis.

Recently (on 1 March 2012) Dr Mercola published an article (Pork: Did Leviticus 11:7 Have It Right?). 

He stated that:

“Levitical guidelines label the pig an "unclean" animal, and prohibit the consumption of pork.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there may be good reason to carefully consider your decision to include pork as part of your diet, as despite advertising campaigns trying to paint pork as a "healthy" alternative to beef, research suggests it may be hazardous to your health on multiple levels.

Pork consumption has a strong epidemiological association with cirrhosis of the liver -- in fact, it may be more strongly associated with cirrhosis than alcohol (although some have questioned the studies that indicate this, and point out that countries with high pork consumption tend to have low obesity rates.)

Other studies also show an association between pork consumption and liver cancer as well as multiple sclerosis.“

He does not take into account the studies referred to in the work by the writer 25 years previously regarding the evidence on the relationship regarding alcohol and cirrhosis.  He does not seem to link the linoleic acid as referred to above but adds some other important factors.

Mercola continues:

“What's behind this data?

Most U.S. Pigs are Fed Grains, Making Them High in Inflammatory Omega-6 Fats

One contributing factor is the diet upon which the pigs are raised, which will impact the level of polyunsaturated omega-6 fat it contains.

Too many polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) contribute to chronic inflammation, which causes all sorts of problems over the long-term. Inflammation is at the source of just about every chronic disease we see today.

Most pigs raised in the United States are fed grains and possibly seed oils, which dramatically increase their omega-6 content, as well as the highly inflammatory byproduct of omega-6 fatty acid metabolism: arachadonic acid. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, lard from pigs fed this type of diet may be 32 percent PUFAs. On the other hand, lard from pigs raised on pasture and acorns had a much lower PUFA content, at 8.7 percent, while those fed a Pacific Island diet rich in coconut had even less, only 3.1 percent.

About one third of the staff at Mercola.com is based in the Philippines where pork is a very popular part of their diet. However, unlike the U.S. in which most of the pigs are fed grains, most of the pig diet in the Philippines is vegetable based. My staff tells me that there is a dramatic difference in the taste. So it is possible that many of the adverse consequences being ascribed to pork may be related to the pigs' diet.

As reported by Dr. Paul Jaminet, a trained astrophysicist and his wife Shou-Ching, a Harvard biomedical scientist, who together authored the book Perfect Health Diet:

"So the omega-6 content can cover a 10-fold range, 3% to 32%, with the highest omega-6 content in corn- and wheat-fed pigs who have been caged for fattening. Corn oil and wheat germ oil are 90% PUFA, and caging prevents exercise and thus inhibits the disposal of excess PUFA. Caging is a common practice in industrial food production."

Consumption of this PUFA-rich meat may very well be a factor in liver disease, as studies show feeding mice corn oil (rich in omega-6) and alcohol (which is metabolically similar to and omega-6 fats have also been linked to cirrhosis of the liver.

However, even though most pork in the United States is likely to be high in omega-6 fats, it is not the largest contributor of omega-6 fats in the U.S. diet -- this honor goes to vegetable oils. Dr. Jaminet continues:

"Either fructose or alcohol can react with polyunsaturated fat to produce liver disease. Sugar consumption, for example in soft drinks, may be just as likely to combine with pork to cause a cirrhotic liver as alcohol. But no other common dietary component can substitute for the role of polyunsaturated fat in causing liver disease.

… We would expect that if pork can cause liver cirrhosis it will also promote liver cancer, since injured and inflamed tissues are more likely to become cancerous. Indeed, there is an association between pork consumption and the primary liver cancer. … But fat composition is hardly likely to be the sole issue with pork. Most polyunsaturated fats in modern diets are derived from vegetable oils, not pork. It seems that there must be something else in pork besides polyunsaturated fat that is causing liver disease."

Another most important thing to note is that vegetable oils cause macular degeneration and blindness. Olive oil and grape seed oil are the healthiest oils and avoid these problems but the Australian Olive oil producers are finding out that almost all non Australian virgin olive oil sold in Australia is in fact not pure olive oil at all and some does not even contain any olive oil. Most olive oil produced in Europe and sold overseas and even in Europe itself appears to be predominantly vegetable oils and not pure virgin olive oil at all. Due to the sub standard labeling requirements in the USA it is more than probable that the deceptive standards of these European producers is because it suits the US food lobby and the oil seed producers there.  The US people are being killed by their own abysmal health regulations.

The article researched by Dr Jamiet and used by Dr Mercola also deals with the form of pork meat in the US.

Most Pork is Consumed in Processed Form

“Another reason to reconsider pork, in theory, would be the fact that most is consumed in processed form. Dr. Jaminet reports that in the U.S., pork consumption can be broken down as follows:

Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or the addition of chemical preservatives. Particularly problematic are the nitrates that are added to these meats as a preservative, coloring and flavoring. The nitrates found in processed meats are frequently converted into nitrosamines, which are clearly associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. It's for this reason that the USDA actually requires adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or erythorbic acid to bacon cure, as it helps reduce the formation of nitrosamines.

Meat cooked at high temperatures, as many processed meats often are, can also contain as many as 20 different kinds of heterocyclic amines, or HCAs for short. These substances are also linked to cancer. Heating meat at high temperatures also appears to increase the formation of nitrosamines, with well-done or burned bacon having significantly more nitrosamines than less well-done bacon.
Many processed meats are also smoked as part of the curing process, and smoking is a well-known cause of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which enter your food during the smoking process.

So it's known that eating processed meats exposes you to at least three cancer-causing substances: nitrates and nitrites (leading to nitrosamines), heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Ironically, despite this known connection, Dr. Jaminet reports that liver cancer appears to be even more strongly associated with the consumption of fresh pork than processed pork, which suggests another causative factor.”

The work by Jamiet and commented on by Mercola also deals with the following Pathogens in Pork.

Does Pork Contain an Infectious, Disease-Causing Pathogen?

“This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Jaminet, who suggests that an infectious pathogen in pork is responsible for the associated health conditions including liver disease and multiple sclerosis:

‘Consider: Traditional methods of processing pork, such as salting, smoking, and curing, are antimicrobial. They were developed to help preserve pork from pathogens. So if processed pork is less risky than fresh pork, we should look for a pathogen that is reduced in number by processing.

If a pathogen is the cause, then it makes sense that fiber would be protective [fiber consumption is protective against pork-induced cancer]. Fiber increases gut bacterial populations. Gut bacteria get "first crack" at food and release proteases and other compounds that can kill pathogens. Also, a large gut bacterial population makes for a vigilant immune system at the gut barrier, making it more likely that pathogens will fail to enter the body. The gut flora are a valuable part of the gut's immune defenses.’

So while pork is arguably ‘good’ meat from a biochemical perspective, I believe there is enough scientific evidence to justify the reservations or outright prohibitions in many cultures against consuming it. Pigs are scavenger animals and will eat just about anything, alive, sick or dead. Their appetite for less-than-wholesome foods makes pigs a breeding ground for potentially dangerous infections. Even cooking pork for long periods is not enough to kill many of the retroviruses and other parasites that many of them harbor.

This is why my nutrition plan recommends consciously avoiding pork whenever possible.
Granted, the occasional consumption of pork might be fine, but it's a risk, and the more you consume it the more likely it is that you will eventually acquire some type of infection. The pork and swine industry has been continually plagued, and continues to be so to this day, by a wide variety of hazardous and deadly infections and diseases, including:

PERV genes are scattered throughout pigs' genetic material, and researchers have found that pig heart, spleen and kidney cells release various strains of the virus.

Mercola continues with a recommendation that is not open to a Bible student and one that obeys the laws of God.

“Is Organic, Pastured Pork Healthy?

If you choose to eat pork, I would recommend seeking a naturally raised, pastured source, as there's no question that pigs raised on CAFOs will not only be higher in omega-6 fats, but also may be more likely to harbor disease, not to mention be treated inhumanely.

That said, I can't even safely recommend consuming pasture-raised pork, because of a study in Emerging Infectious Diseases citing concerns about pastured pigs being vulnerable to Trichinella spiralis infection, due to their exposure to wild hosts that carry the disease.

I would also seek out pork that was raised primarily on vegetables rather than grains. Pasture-raised pig farming has expanded with increased demand from health conscious consumers, and that study noted 28 U.S. farms were located within 50 kilometers of a previously infected site.

If you still want to continue buying pasture-raised pork, I'd advise you to at least take a look at this CDC map, which details areas where outbreaks have occurred, to avoid purchasing meat from a potentially unsafe location. Other than that, I would simply recommend you consider avoiding pork altogether, even organic pasture-raised versions, in favor of healthier and safer protein sources, like organic grass-fed beef, lamb, bison and chicken.”

The fact of the matter is that The Bible forbids the consumption of Pork and every decade new reasons are found to confirm the scientific basis of the Bible in its prohibition on pork and other unclean foods that God declares unfit for human consumption.

Make sure that all our people are aware of the Food Laws and the diseases that come from unclean animals, birds, seafood and shellfish.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General