Peruvian Guinea pigs in American cuisine

guinea pigs, or Peruvian 'cuy'Despite the Peruvian guinea pig is exported only as meat (frozen or seasoned), which is demanded mainly by Peruvian and Latin communities in the United States, it has other properties that can be commercially exploited. For instance, the Peruvian guinea pig or more commonly known as “cuy” in Peru, can be used as a pet, as food for ruminants such as lambs or even its excrements can be used as natural fertilizer. However, as previously stated, the most regular use is as food for human consumption. Not only because this product can be classified as a nostalgia export, but also because it is a very nutritive meal: 19.1% of proteins and only 7.41% of fat. In a country where healthy meals and fitness are the daily patterns of life, having the chance of eating a meat with such properties should certainly not pass overlooked.

It should also be noticed that the costs of exporting the cuy are low, since it’s cheap to breed and feed them in Peru. On the other hand, its price rises in destined markets according to the meat quality and if the animal is for breeding as a pet. However, we should improve the exportable supply of these pigs.

It is a fact that there is currently an increasing amount of guinea pigs breeding places, but most of them are small, which constitutes an obstacle for the gathering of these animals in order to commercialize them. Besides, there is also the danger of not counting with the right sanity conditions in the pigs’ litters.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that importers of this type of meat should be capable of demonstrating the healthiness of their products. One requirement is the presentation of a sanity certificate of the breeding place or of the installation where the meat is processed or packed.

In Peru, this certificate should be emitted by the National Service of Agriculture Sanity (SENASA) and some have advanced trying to standardize the breeding process and optimal sanitary measures required for a successful commercialization. However, still some more work needs to be done in order to prepare the breeders for this matter.