1. Objectives:
a. Measure the amounts of vitamin K2 (also known as menaquinones) in representative samples of fresh pork and processed pork products commonly consumed in the U.S. diet.
b. Identify fresh pork cuts that contain the highest content of vitamin K2 to target those cuts that will provide the highest vitamin K intakes.

2. How research was conducted: Nationally representative samples of processed pork products were obtained from the USDA, as part of the National Food and Nutrition Analysis Program (NFNAP). In addition, fresh-cut pork products including chops, chops with bone, back ribs with bone, shoulder blade with bone, tenderloin and St. Louis style cut ribs, were purchased from multiple retail outlets,. Pork samples were then analyzed for vitamin K2 using state-of the art technology.

3. Research findings: All pork products analyzed contained measurable amounts of vitamin K2. The vitamin K2 content of processed pork products increased with their fat content. The total vitamin K2 content of sausage is three to five times higher than the minimum amount of vitamin K recommended in the diet. Among the fresh pork cuts, St. Louis-style spareribs contained about twice the vitamin K2 content as pork chops and pork tenderloin.

4. What these findings mean to the industry: Fresh pork cuts and processed pork products are a rich dietary source of vitamin K2. There is considerable scientific and consumer interest in vitamin K2 with respect to their potential protective effect on heart disease risk. However, currently we know very little about the biological activity of vitamin K2. If it is established that vitamin K2 has biological activity, pork will have an important dietary role in vitamin K nutrition.
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