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Medical Parasites in Food

  1. Aug 5, 2008 #1
    I have read some stuff about how a much greater portion of society has parasites in their intestines than is normally assumed. Does anyone know what foods are known to contain lots parasites or if they mainly contracted when people touch soil or fecal matter and then touch their mouth?

    Also I eat some organic foods and I am wondering if anyone knows if parasites could be in bread or cereal, or if cooking would kill it, because there has been a couple times when I was eating some organic cereal and it tasted like I just bit into some kind of manure or bird feces or something and I spit it out.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2008 #2
    basically all meat products have the potential to have parasites, usually they are of no consequences especially for beef, chicken etc u only got to worry about pork. their meat can sometimes harbour tapeworms which when ingested by humans may result in cyst forming in our tissues and may lead to death if the cyst form in the brain

    i'm not too sure about bread and cereal but my guess is no, although certain parasites have lifestages in grasses, i dun think its likely to get cross contamination.

    cooking will kill the parasites but not always, especially if u cook on low-medium heat and too quickly or both

    one sure way of knowing whether u have parasites is to look at ur feces, if u see it moving or has tiny eggs in it...well u know u have it ;)
     
  4. Aug 24, 2008 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    I think Ukitake is talking about trichinosis with regard to pork. It is rare, but still out there: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001752.htm

    Parasites spread by vectors like insects as well. Other parasites like pinworms spread by contact with infected people and are the most common worm infection in the US
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/pinworm/factsht_pinworm.htm

    So don't limit yourself to food-borne parasites
     
  5. Aug 24, 2008 #4
    Raw fish like poorly prepared sushi has the potential for many worm problems. I don't eat sushi often, but when I do, I insist it's at a 5 star place known for it.

    So eating steak medium rare and cooking in a crockpot is risky?
     
  6. Aug 25, 2008 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Greg -

    It is not that simple. If you get the internal temperature of food above 160F most parasitic organisms perish. 160F is at or below the temperature of the crockpots in North America, foe example.

    IMO, the problem relates more to a reliable tested food supply, or lack thereof.
    There are lot of cooked meats and vegetables that can be safely prepared and consumed
    at lower temperatures or even as fresh items - in a tested food supply. A lot of CDC reports for trichinosis are the result of poorly prepared game - especially things like bear and wild boar.

    I would be more worried about imported foods from places where there are problems, the recent Salmonella outbreak -- warning on tomatoes and peppers from one area in Mexico for example. Testing for Salmonella or tapeworms - like measly beef, and trichina cysts in pork is pretty straightforward, and can be done quickly. It just needs to be done and reported honestly.
     
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