Blood- Safety of Pig vs. Cow blood (contributed by Orb)
Though the possibility of becoming ill from Pork blood is small, why risk it at all? It has nothing to do with pathogens, but instead with parasites. Trichinosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the intestinal roundworm, Trichinella spiralis. Trichinosis is prevented by cooking all pork and pork products at a temperature and for a sufficient amount of time to allow all parts to reach 71° C.
The eggs of this parasite can be found in a certain percentage of all pigs raised for dietary uses ... which is why everyone always tells you to be certain to cook pork thoroughly before eating. It can also be found in the blood of the animal. Unfortunately, heating the blood to the suggested 71° C essentially destroys it, as far as it being "fresh" any longer, though you can make a nice blood pudding from it (I hear, I don't do cooked blood).
In the infective stages, trichinosis causes intestinal ailments, nausea, vomiting, and watery stools. Later symptoms are facial swelling, headache, and delirium. Some people recovering from trichinosis suffer permanent heart or eye damage, and about 5 percent of cases are fatal. Trichinosis may be successfully treated with drugs before the blood migration phase (which is when the parasite eggs enter the blood stream of the host before attaching themselves to muscle fibers and forming cysts), but it is difficult to diagnose in the early stages. This disease is difficult to see in dietary pigs, and therefore a good deal of pork is sold that is infected. If you buy blood from a butcher, your chances of getting infected blood are higher, as it does not come from a major plant with FDA inspectors on site. The inspection system for small butcher shops is significantly different from that of major plants (more lax). Therefore, anytime you purchase ANY meat or blood product from a butcher you take a risk of some sort. Good reason to know your butcher well.
Beef blood is significantly safer as there are very few diseases or parasites that can be exchanged between humans and cows (mad cow disease being the only one I know of really - it being of little consequence here in the US).
Besides, I happen to like the taste of beef blood better than pig anyway.
Pork Update (Addendum by MemoryandDream)
There have been a lot of misconceptions that Trichinosis no longer exists. I have repeatedly read people claim it is no longer an issue. I want to quote the USDA's guidelines just to clarify the facts:
Please note that while it does state it is less common these days, that it still DOES exist and that there is still a significant risk from illness in uncooked or undercooked meats and blood.
Additionally, here are the potentially dangerous organisms found in beef:
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