North Korea has never really been known for its native cuisine, but the country’s most recent dietary trend has people shaking their heads.
The “Hermit Kingdom” has been in a sad state of affairs ever since the 1950s. Often the butt of jokes, the Korean peninsula’s worse half is home to a severely impoverished population living under a totalitarian regime. Kim Jong-un inherited the country from his father, Kim Jong-il, and has continued his legacy of violence and oppression. Instead of investing money in infrastructure or agriculture, the dictator concentrates the country’s money on military advancement. As a result, people are left starving.
In the past, North Korea has attempted to feed their malnourished population with giant rabbits, but now Kim Jong-un is offering a new solution to his people’s suffering: dog meat. The local North Korean propaganda station, DPRK Today, claimed dog meat was the perfect “stamina food.” According to the news network, dog meat is healthier than pork, duck, chicken, and beef, and also good for the intestines, stomach, and kidneys.
While South Korea recently banned the consumption of dog meat altogether, North Korea took its commitment even further by suggesting that in order to improve the dog’s flavor, it should be beaten to death before cooked. This particularly savage “technique” has obviously received a lot of negative publicity from the international animal activist community, but their cries are falling on deaf ears. North Korea already faces strict sanctions from the West as a result of its unauthorized ballistic missile tests, so they're not likely to worry much about PETA.
The term “superfood” can be thrown around pretty liberally — we’re even guilty of it here at The Daily Meal. But dog meat is not a superfood, and consuming the flesh of stray dogs can make you sick. Dogs are prone to carrying their own set of diseases including rabies, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and cholera, all of them dangerous to humans. Before dog meat can even be considered edible, it must be injected with high amounts of antibiotics, which increases antibiotic resistance in the humans who eat it.
North Korea’s promotion of dog meat is an example of why it’s important to do your own research when analyzing nutrition and health claims. If you really want a comprehensive understanding of the food in question, look for the cited studies directly. Everything labeled as a superfood, whether avocados or dog meat, should be looked at with a degree of skepticism.