Are you one of those people who love the taste of bacon, ham, or pork chops but feel sick after eating them?
If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, or even food poisoning after consuming pork.
But why does this happen?
In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind your discomfort and what you can do about it. From allergies and intolerances to improper preparation and hygiene issues, we’ll cover it all.
So, if you’re tired of feeling sick every time you eat pork, keep reading to find out why and how to avoid it.
Why Do I Feel Sick After Eating Pork?
There are several reasons why you might feel sick after eating pork. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Allergies And Intolerances To Pork
Pork allergies and intolerances are not as common as other food allergies, but they do exist. A pork allergy is an adverse immune response to consuming pork and its byproducts. It can cause symptoms such as anaphylaxis, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal distress. Most pork allergies are related to cat allergies, also known as Pork-Cat Syndrome. People develop this sensitivity due to an allergic response to cat serum albumin that cross-reacts with albumin in pork.
In addition to allergies, some people may have a sensitivity or intolerance to pork. This occurs when the digestive system reacts adversely after eating pork. Symptoms of a pork sensitivity can be similar to those of a pork allergy, making it difficult to determine which is causing the reaction without proper testing. Undercooked pork meat or dried and smoked pork products tend to cause more reactions than well-cooked pork meat.
It’s important to note that meat from any kind of mammal, including beef, lamb, goat, and even whale and seal, can cause an allergic reaction. A bite from the Lone Star tick can also cause people to develop an allergy to red meat, including beef and pork. This tick is found predominantly in the Southeast of the United States, from Texas to Iowa and into New England. If you are allergic to one type of meat, it is possible you may also be allergic to other meats, as well as poultry such as chicken, turkey, and duck.
Avoidance of mammalian meat products is the most important method to prevent meat allergy. If you suspect you have a pork allergy or sensitivity, it’s necessary to see a doctor or allergy specialist for proper testing and diagnosis. In cases of occupational exposure among workers in the pig farming and processing industry, timely diagnosis and identification of specific allergens can help prevent contact and reduce the risk of allergic symptoms in sensitized individuals.
Bacteria And Parasites In Pork
One of the main reasons people can get sick from eating pork is due to the presence of bacteria and parasites in the meat. Trichinosis, also known as trichinellosis, is a food-borne disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Trichinella, which can be found in raw or undercooked pork and wild game. The larvae of this parasite can survive in muscle tissue and cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and muscle pain.
In addition to Trichinella, there are other types of bacteria that can be found in pork, such as Salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria can cause food poisoning and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, cramping, fever, and vomiting. It is important to handle pork properly and cook it thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria or parasites that may be present.
To prevent getting sick from pork, it is recommended that you always cook pork to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and allow it to rest for three minutes before eating. It is also important to avoid eating raw or undercooked pork and wild game. If you suspect that you may have consumed contaminated pork or wild game, seek medical attention immediately to receive proper treatment.
Improper Preparation And Cooking Of Pork
Improper preparation and cooking of pork can lead to foodborne illnesses that can make you very sick. Pork is prone to certain bacteria and parasites that can be killed in the cooking process. If pork is not cooked through to its proper temperature, there’s a risk that these harmful bacteria and parasites will survive and be consumed. This can lead to infections like trichinosis, taeniasis, or cysticercosis. Trichinella spiralis is a roundworm found in pork that causes trichinosis, while tapeworms like Taenia solium or Taenia asiatica can cause taeniasis or cysticercosis.
To ensure safety when handling pork, it is essential to follow proper guidelines. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness and ensure that the pork is cooked to the appropriate temperature. Cook whole muscle cuts like pork chops and pork tenderloin to a minimum of 145°F followed by a 3-minute rest time prior to eating. Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the food. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops after preparing each food item, and consider using paper towels to clean up surfaces.
Storing pork properly is also crucial to prevent contamination. Always store pork in the fridge or freezer, and keep it below 40°F during storage. Store uncooked pork items together, separate from cooked foods. Refrigerate or freeze fresh pork immediately after bringing it home. Packaged whole cuts of fresh pork may be refrigerated in their original wrapping in the coldest part of the refrigerator up to four or five days after purchase, while ground pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
When cooking pork, it is important to organize the shelves by cooking temperature. Most cuts of pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, while ground pork should be cooked to 155°F. If you have other food items in the refrigerator that require different cooking temperatures, make sure to store them accordingly. Keep food items that require the most cooking at the bottom and those that require the least on top.
Hygiene Issues In Pork Processing And Handling
The hygiene of pork processing and handling is a critical factor in ensuring the safety and quality of pork products. Pig carcasses can become contaminated with grease, blood, and other filth if there is an equipment breakdown or if facilities and equipment are not cleaned and sanitized regularly. It is essential to clean and sanitize hand tools, dishes, and table surfaces daily to prevent cross-contamination between raw and processed foods. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and delicatessen products should be kept away from raw meat, fish, and poultry to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
A good cleaning job can reduce micro-organisms by up to 80%, which is generally considered a “sanitized” situation. However, disinfection without cleaning first is a waste of money since cleaning is necessary to remove visible dirt from the surface and allow the disinfectant to reach the surface effectively. A new generation of cleaners in the form of GEL (BIOGEL TM) has been developed that adheres longer and allows for an increase in contact time, which saves on water consumption, labor, and energy.
Hygiene is also crucial in minimizing hazards and risks during the meat production process since contaminated raw meat is unfit for further processing. Failures in slaughter hygiene, meat handling or transportation, meat cutting, the hygiene of by-products in the process, and additives in the meat can contribute to quality losses. Unhygienic meat production will always increase the risk of food poisoning microorganisms that pose a significant public health hazard.
Slaughterhouse and meat packing workers are at risk of exposure to biological agents during slaughter, handling freshly slaughtered meat, or exposure to ill animals. Health effects may include skin infections, flu, gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea), and sometimes more serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis (blood infection). Workers have higher levels of antibodies to biological agents such as influenza and staphylococcus aureus. Of particular concern are exposures to biological agents that are resistant to antibiotics such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Cross-contamination With Other Foods
Cross-contamination is a common cause of food poisoning and can occur when bacteria or other microorganisms are transferred from one substance to another. This can happen during any stage of food production, including primary food production, harvest or slaughter, secondary food production, transportation, storage, distribution, and food preparation and serving.
When it comes to pork, cross-contamination can occur when the meat comes into contact with other foods that are contaminated with bacteria. For example, if you use the same cutting board or knife to prepare raw pork and then use it to prepare vegetables or other foods without washing it in between, you could be transferring harmful bacteria to those other foods.
It’s important to practice good hygiene and food safety practices when handling pork and other meats. This includes washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat, using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and other foods, cooking pork to the appropriate temperature to kill any harmful bacteria, and refrigerating leftovers promptly.
In addition, it’s important to be aware of any recalls or public health alerts related to pork or other foods. Real-time notices of recalls and alerts are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it’s important to check these regularly to ensure that you are not consuming any recalled products.
By taking these precautions and being aware of the risks of cross-contamination with other foods, you can help prevent food poisoning from contaminated pork and other meats.
How To Avoid Getting Sick From Pork
To avoid getting sick from pork, it is important to handle and cook the meat properly. Here are some tips:
1. Cook pork to a safe temperature: Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowed to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming. This will help ensure that any harmful bacteria or parasites are killed.
2. Avoid eating raw or undercooked pork: Eating raw or undercooked pork can lead to foodborne illnesses like trichinosis or taeniasis. These can cause serious complications that are sometimes fatal.
3. Prevent cross-contamination: It is important to prevent cross-contamination by washing hands, utensils, and surfaces that come into contact with raw pork. This will help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
4. Buy pork from reliable sources: Make sure to buy pork from reputable sources that follow proper food handling and safety practices.
5. Freeze pork before consuming: If you are unsure about the safety of your pork, you can freeze it for at least 20 days at 5°F (-15°C) to kill any worms that may be present.
By following these tips, you can safely enjoy delicious pork without getting sick. Remember to always practice proper food handling and cooking techniques to ensure your health and safety.