Is it Calamari or Pig Bung?

Recently DNA tests were conducted in various cities across America. They were done to provide positive proof that the incidence of mislabeling seafood is spread further and wider than anyone had ever thought. The results were indeed shocking. Things like tilapia were routinely mislabeled in restaurants and fish markets as red snapper, and general mislabeling was happening nearly 40% (sometimes more often) in cities like New York and Los Angeles. The results indicated that nearly half the time, you are probably not actually eating the seafood you thought you ordered.

Now comes news, albeit somewhat unsubstantiated news, that indicates that our love affair with calamari (squid) may about to become a bit more complicated. Award winning public radio program This American Life ran a segment about the alleged practice of hog rectums (or pig bungs) being used as “imitation calamari.” This American Life producer, Ben Calhoun, got a hot tip about a farmer, who is in charge of “a pork producing operation that spans several states.” This farmer has was visiting a pork processing plant one day in Oklahoma, and noticed boxes stacked on the floor labeled “artificial calamari.” Asked what that meant, the plant’s manager replied, “Bung. It’s hog rectum.” For clarity, Calhoun adds, “Rectum that would be sliced into rings, deep fried, and boom, there you have it.”

The report goes on to investigate this rumor, not finding all that much credibility to the claims excepting some alleged links back to pig bung being consumed in Asia, but largely Calhoun comes up a bit short on hard evidence of the practice of passing off pig bung for calamari. But that is not to say that it doesn’t actually happen, as most food industry experts will admit.

Is the idea of having our calamari clandestinely swapped out for pig bung just too much to swallow? Is it, as Calhoun speculates, just “payback for our blissful ignorance about where our food comes from”? Do you think any of this is at all true?

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Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 years ago

"but largely Calhoun comes up a bit short on hard evidence of the practice of passing off pig bung for calamari." However that doesn't prevent you writing as though it were proven frequent and common practice.

Shirley Barnes
Shirley Barnes5 years ago

yes I do and I hope everyone out there that drools as they eat what they think is their favorite meaty entree,that is is indeed everything they wouldn't eat for any amount of money

Lacy B.
Lacy W5 years ago

Ugh. That is so disgusting. :[

Margaret R.

Calamari is only tough if over cooked. I order it out all the time...yum. I f I worried about what I am really eating, I wouldn't be able to eat anything. I have more important things in my life. I don't waste my time worrying.....

Steve M.
Steve M.5 years ago

I've had calamari that was chewy enough to be pig rectum and sent it back.

Mary Beth M.
MaryBeth M5 years ago

Good Lord!

Robertajo Trask
Robertajo Trask5 years ago

I know there are a lot of things that people in foreign countries eat that may be quite good, but the American palate isn't ready for..(may never be ). However, it's fraud when anyone in the position to "mislabel" foods does it. If plain Mr & Mrs America did anything like that, they'd be in court paying huge fines and under scrutiny for a long, long time. What makes it ok for our food sources to get away with it? I, for one, grow a lot of my own food. What I don't, I scrutinize very carefully. This country has gone downhill in so many ways that I no longer trust anyone or anything. " Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." Rings truer today than ever before.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters6 years ago

As we can see anything for a $. We will never know what is in our food, unless we grow it ourselves. I love calamari occasionally, but after this I will never ever order it again. Actually we rarely eat out anymore after several bad experiences which resulted in food poisoning. One never knows how old the food is, or how many times it was re-heated.

Brian M.
Past Member 6 years ago

This kind of disinformation does a lot to discredit vegetarians and vegans. No matter how much one may disagree with omnivorism, the idea that someone would be so foul and low as to spread such a blatantly obvious lie about something so tasty as calamari reveals that at least some anti-meat folks aren't sure of the merits of their own practices. Vegetarianism and veganism are healthy, environmentally friendly ways of living...and do not need to spread disinformation about meat products to justify themselves.