As of 2015, a number of companies advertise and sell hand-cleaned chitterlings (also spelled chitlins), including Chicago-based Moo & Oink Pork Chitterlings, CKF Foods' Aunt Bessie's Chitterlings, and Gourmet Food Center's Hand-Cleaned Pork Chitterlings. Another popular brand is Uncle Lou's Super Clean Chitlins, although this brand is not specifically advertised as being hand-cleaned.
Because chitterlings are pig intestines, they carry a high risk for bacterial contamination and should be handled carefully, even if they are advertised as hand-cleaned. The Virginia State Health Department recommends that chitterlings be boiled for five minutes before being normally prepared. They also suggest that pre-cooked chitterlings be purchased instead of raw chitterlings.
Raw chitterlings are at high risk for containing the Yersinia bacteria, which can cause severe or bloody diarrhea and stomach pains that may mimic the symptoms of appendicitis. Particular care should be taken when preparing chitterlings in households with infants or young children, as they are especially susceptible to the bacteria.
Chitterlings are traditionally served as a holiday food around the New Year, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the United States. Chitterlings emit a strong smell while cooking and were traditionally cooked outdoors during the cold weather of the winter hog-killing season.