Have you ever had this in your life: 12 hours after you ate a chicken, you felt unwell? Then it turns into sharp stomach pains that radiate to the back. Then you have diarrhea, a fever, and you feel sick. This goes on for several days, and then you feel exhausted for several weeks. You vow to never eat chicken again. If your answer “Yes”then you are one of the millions who suffer from food poisoning.
The circumstances are such that the main cause of poisoning is food of animal origin. Ninety-five percent of all food poisoning is caused by meat, eggs, or fish. The probability of infection with viruses and bacteria from animals is much greater than from vegetables, because animals are biologically more similar to us. Many viruses that live in the blood or cells of other animals can live just as well in our bodies. Viruses and bacteria that cause food poisoning are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some bacteria live and multiply inside living organisms, while others infect the meat of already slaughtered animals due to the way it is stored. In any case, we are constantly contracting various diseases from the meat we eat, and it is increasingly difficult to cure them. According to the UK government, thousands of people go to the doctor with some form of food poisoning. That adds up to 85000 cases a year, which probably doesn’t sound like a lot for a population of fifty-eight million. But here’s the catch! Scientists believe that the real number is ten times higher, but people do not always go to the doctor, they just stay at home and suffer. This equates to approximately 850000 cases of food poisoning each year, of which 260 are fatal. There are a lot of bacteria that cause poisoning, here are the names of some of the most common: Salmonella is the cause of hundreds of deaths in the UK. This bacterium is found in chicken, eggs, and the meat of ducks and turkeys. This bacterium causes diarrhea and stomach pain. Another no less dangerous infection – campylobactum, found mainly in chicken meat. I described the action of this bacterium on the human body at the beginning of this chapter; it provokes the most common form of poisoning. From listeria also kills hundreds of people every year, this bacterium is found in processed foods and frozen foods – cooked chicken and salami. For pregnant women, this bacterium is especially dangerous, it manifests itself with flu-like symptoms, and can lead to blood poisoning and meningitis or even death of the fetus. One of the reasons it is so difficult to control all the bacteria found in meat is the fact that bacteria are constantly changing – mutating. Mutation – a process similar to the process of evolution of animals, the only difference is that bacteria mutate faster than animals within a few hours, not millennia. Many of these mutated bacteria quickly die out, but many survive. Some can even resist the drugs that worked on their predecessors. When this happens, scientists have to look for new drugs and other treatments. Since 1947, when it was invented penicillin, antibiotics and other drugs, physicians could cure most known infections, including food poisoning. Now the bacteria have mutated so much that antibiotics no longer work on them. Some bacteria cannot be treated by any medical drug, and this is the fact that doctors are most worried about because so few new drugs are being developed now that new drugs do not have time to replace old ones that no longer work. One of the reasons for the spread of bacteria in meat is the conditions in which animals are kept in slaughterhouses. Poor hygiene, water sloshing all over the place, saws grinding through carcasses, splattering blood, fat, pieces of meat and bones everywhere. Such conditions favor the reproduction of viruses and bacteria, especially on a windy day. Professor Richard Lacey, who does research on food poisoning, says: “When a completely healthy animal enters the slaughterhouse, there is a high probability that the carcass will be infected with some kind of virus.” Because meat is a cause of heart disease and cancer, more and more people are ditching beef, lamb, and pork in favor of healthier chicken. In some food processing plants, the chicken processing areas are separated from other areas by large glass screens. The danger is that chicken can spread the infection to other types of meat. The method of handling slaughtered chickens virtually guarantees the spread of viruses and bacteria such as salmonella or campylobacter. After the birds’ throats are cut, they are all dipped into the same tank of hot water. The water temperature is about fifty degrees, enough to separate the feathers, but not enough to kill bacteriathat breed in water. The next stage of the process is just as negative. Bacteria and microbes live in the insides of any animal. The insides of dead chickens are automatically removed by a spoon-shaped device. This device scrapes the insides of one bird after another – each bird on the conveyor belt spreads bacteria. Even when chicken carcasses are sent to the freezer, the bacteria do not die, they simply stop multiplying. But as soon as the meat is thawed, the reproduction process resumes. If the chicken were cooked properly, there would be no health problems because salmonella would not be able to survive in normal sanitary conditions. But when you unwrap pre-cooked chicken, you get salmonella on your hands and can live on anything you touch, even work surfaces. Problems also arise from the way meat is stored in stores. I remember once hearing the story of a woman who worked in a supermarket. She said the only thing she hated was mint paste. I couldn’t figure out what she meant until she explained that mint paste is a small, round, creamy, bacteria-infested pustule that can often be seen when cut open. meat. And what do they do with them? Supermarket employees just scraping pus, cut off this piece of meat and throw it into a bucket. In a trash can? Not in a special bucket, then to take it to a meat grinder. There are many other ways to eat contaminated meat without even knowing it. Over the past few years, various discoveries have been made by television journalists about how meat is handled. The unfortunate cows, which were deemed unfit for human consumption due to disease or being fed antibiotics, ended up as pie filling and the basis for other foods. There have also been instances of supermarkets returning meat to suppliers because it was spoiled. What were the suppliers doing? They cut the windy pieces, washed the remaining meat, cut it up and sold it again under the guise of fresh, lean meat. It’s hard for you to tell if the meat is really good or it looks like it’s good. Why do providers act this way? Let the Chairman of the Institute dealing with problems answer this question Environment and Health: “Imagine the profit that can be made by buying a dead animal, unfit for human consumption, it can be bought for 25 pounds and sold as good, fresh meat for at least 600 pounds in stores.” No one knows how common this practice is, but according to those who have investigated this issue, it is quite common and the situation is getting worse. The most exciting part is that the worst, cheapest and, in most cases, most contaminated meat is sold to those who buy it as cheaply as possible and in large quantities, namely hospitals, nursing homes and schools where it is used for cooking. lunches.