Toxoplasmosis and meat
When you talk about “food poisoning” you most likely talk about Salmonella or E.coli infections. Symptoms of food poisoning include severe vomiting and diarrhea, high temperatures, and dehydration.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite sometimes found in raw meat, including cured meats such as salami, and undercooked meats like lamb. Toxoplasma is also found in soil, on unwashed vegetables, and in cat feces. More often than not, if you become infected with toxoplasmosis there are no specific symptoms, and sometimes it causes a mild, flu-like illness. Toxoplasmosis causes the most severe damage to the fetus if a woman becomes infected in her first trimester. If you've had it once, you are unlikely to get it again. There is a blood test that can show whether you have had toxoplasmosis.
Listeria is another organism you can get from undercooked meat, especially frankfurters, but also from smoked fish or prepared salads.
Reduce your risk of infection from meat
- Only eat well-done meat
- Cook poultry and meat until no pink remains and the juices run clear.
- Take special care with grilled or barbecued meat: burgers and sausages may appear black on the outside but remain underdone and pink on the inside.
- Wash your hands and all utensils well, especially after handling raw meat and vegetables.
- Be careful how you prepare raw meat: Clean all surfaces well that have come into contact with raw meat. Do not put food down on the same chopping board or surface that has been used for raw meat without thoroughly cleaning the surface first.
- Store raw meat carefully so that the juice cannot drip onto other food.
- If you are marinating meat, keep it refrigerated and in a covered dish.