Thursday, February 21, 2013

Good news (for raw beef eaters anyway)

Consumption of raw or undercooked meat is a major risk factor for contracting toxoplasmosis. Somebody asked in class whether a fondness for rare steaks would doom them to a life of slightly lower reaction times.

I looked into this and the good news is that all meat is not equal. The risk is MUCH greater from pork, lamb and venison. Cows are relatively poor hosts and Toxoplasmosis is rarely found in 

In this study from Clinical infectious Disease last year they analysed several studies involving thousands of samples of retail meat and came to some interesting conclusions regarding organic meat.

An upsurge in consumer demand for “organically raised” and “free range”’ pork products has resulted in increasing numbers of pigs being raised in nonconfinement systems and several studies have shown higher rates of Toxoplasmosis infection in organically raised pigs. (eg, viable T. gondii was isolated from 17 of 33 organically raised pigs from Michigan). However pigs are not tested for T. gondii infection at slaughter.

So the conclusion would seem to be that if you must eat meat then cook it thoroughly. If you must eat undercooked meat then steak may be your best bet. 

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