Speed Reads

pigs just being pigs

U.S. pigs are too plump to sell as holiday hams

Hogs in the United States are so heavy that many can't actually be sold as spiral-cut hams this holiday season.

A virus killed millions of piglets last year, which led to farmers feeding pigs for longer periods of time to make up for their losses, Bloomberg reports. When a pig's hind legs are on the larger size, they are unable to be used as 7-pound spiral-cut half hams. That type of ham is at its most popular around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"This year has been a struggle for people that sell half hams because heavier hogs are coming to market," Brian Mariuz of Honeybaked Ham Co. told Bloomberg. "Seven-pound hams are in the highest demand and in the lowest supply." About 5 million fewer pigs than usual were slaughtered in 2014, meaning the number of hind legs used for hams is down by more than 10 million.