Are you a fan of pulled pork, but find that it always leaves you feeling sick?
You’re not alone.
Many people experience adverse reactions after consuming pork and its byproducts.
From allergies and sensitivities to improper preparation and bacterial infections, there are a variety of reasons why pulled pork might make you feel ill.
In this article, we’ll explore the different factors that could be causing your discomfort and provide tips on how to enjoy this delicious dish without any negative side effects.
So, grab a seat and get ready to learn why pulled pork might be making you sick.
Why Does Pulled Pork Make Me Sick?
There are several reasons why pulled pork might be making you feel sick. One of the most common causes is a pork allergy or sensitivity. Some people develop an allergic response to cat serum albumin, which cross-reacts with albumin in pork. This condition is also known as pork-cat syndrome. Symptoms of a pork allergy or sensitivity can include stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
Another reason why pulled pork might be making you sick is improper preparation. Undercooked pork meat or dried and smoked pork products tend to cause more reactions than well-cooked pork meat. Smoked meat may also be linked to bacterial infections such as Listeria or Clostridium botulinum, which can result in foodborne illnesses.
If you have a gallbladder condition, such as gallstones or inefficient functioning, you may also experience nausea or vomiting after eating pork. This is because pork is one of the foods that can irritate the gallbladder.
Allergies And Sensitivities To Pork
Allergies and sensitivities to pork are becoming more common in recent years. A pork allergy is an adverse immune response that occurs after consuming pork and its byproducts. People with this condition develop a sensitivity due to an allergic response to cat serum albumin that cross-reacts with albumin in pork. Symptoms of a pork allergy can range from mild to severe and may include inflammation of the skin, itchy mouth or throat, headaches, stomach cramps, and wheezing. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may occur, which is a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Pork sensitivity is another condition that can cause discomfort but is not as severe as a pork allergy. This condition affects the digestive system and can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. It’s important to note that some of these symptoms may also be present if pork is not prepared properly and thus causing food poisoning rather than a food sensitivity.
Meat from any kind of mammal can cause an allergic reaction, including beef, lamb, goat, and even whale and seal. A bite from the Lone Star tick can cause people to develop an allergy to red meat, including beef and pork. The Lone Star tick has been implicated in initiating the red meat allergy in the US. If you are allergic to one type of meat, it is possible you also are allergic to other meats, as well as to poultry such as chicken, turkey, and duck.
If you suspect you have a pork allergy or sensitivity, it’s important to avoid pork and foods containing pork substances. Some of these foods include bacon, ham, sausage, hot dogs, and pulled pork. If you experience an allergic reaction to pork, it’s best to use cortisone cream to soothe rashes and antihistamines to quell the histamines released into your body.
Improper Preparation Techniques
Improper preparation techniques can lead to sickness after consuming pulled pork. Pork meat, unlike steak, needs to be cooked thoroughly to kill off any bacteria and parasites that may be present in the meat. If pork is not cooked through to its proper temperature, there is a risk of consuming harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause serious illnesses like trichinosis or tapeworm infections.
Another factor to consider is the use of excessive salt in the preparation of smoked meats. Most smoked meats are brined using a salt solution before being seasoned with salty rubs, which can increase the level of sodium you ingest. High levels of sodium can lead to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even kidney issues.
To avoid getting sick from pulled pork, it is important to follow proper cooking techniques. Rinse the pork shoulder and place it in a large container with a brine solution for at least 12 hours. After removing it from the brine solution, pat it dry with paper towels and place it in a baking pan with dry rub seasoning. Cook the pork in an oven at 225 degrees F until the center reaches 200 degrees F. Let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven.
Bacterial Infections From Pork
Bacterial infections from pork are another reason why pulled pork may make you sick. One such infection is yersiniosis, which is caused by the Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria. This bacteria is commonly found in raw or undercooked pork and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Children are more susceptible to this infection than adults, and it is more common in the winter. To prevent yersiniosis, it is important to ensure that pork meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature and to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw pork.
In addition to yersiniosis, pork may also be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as enterococcus, staph, salmonella, and listeria. These bacteria can cause serious illnesses and infections in humans, especially in children. A Consumer Reports study found that 69% of pork chops and ground pork samples tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica, which can cause infections in about 100,000 Americans a year.
Another bacterial infection that can be contracted from pork is trichinosis. This disease is caused by a microscopic parasite called Trichinella, which can be found in raw or undercooked meat from infected animals. Wild game, such as bear meat, and pork products are common sources of this parasite.
Clostridium perfringens is another dangerous bacterium found in pork that can cause intestinal infections in pigs. The toxin produced by this bacteria can kill vascular cells and cause bleeding in piglets’ intestines. While it is rare for humans to contract this infection from pork, it is still important to ensure that all pork products are properly cooked and handled to prevent any potential contamination.
Cross-Contamination With Other Foods
Cross-contamination is another reason why pulled pork may be making you sick. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria from one food item is transferred to another food item, typically through poor hygiene or improper handling. For example, if the same cutting board is used to prepare raw pork and then used to chop vegetables without being properly cleaned, the vegetables can become contaminated with harmful bacteria.
It’s important to be aware of other foods that may contain pork or pork byproducts, as these can also lead to cross-contamination. Foods such as bacon, gravy, gelatin, and pre-made pie shells may contain animal fats derived from pork. It’s essential to read food labels carefully to avoid accidentally consuming these products and risking cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination can also occur during cooking and serving. If pulled pork is not cooked thoroughly or kept at the correct temperature, harmful bacteria can multiply and cause food poisoning. Additionally, if the same utensils or serving dishes are used for both raw and cooked pork without proper cleaning, cross-contamination can occur.
To prevent cross-contamination when preparing pulled pork, it’s crucial to follow proper food safety practices. This includes using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and other foods, washing hands thoroughly before and after handling food, and cooking pork to the correct temperature (at least 145°F). It’s also important to store cooked pork at the correct temperature (above 140°F) and to refrigerate leftovers promptly.
Tips For Enjoying Pulled Pork Safely
If you want to enjoy pulled pork safely, there are some tips you should follow:
1. Choose the right cut: Pitmasters suggest that pork butt, also known as Boston butt, makes the best pulled pork after smoking. As the muscle has a good amount of fat, it stays tender and succulent even after prolonged cooking.
2. Cook at the right temperature: Generally, we cook pork butt at a temperature range between 225 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit (or 107 to 118 Celsius) for at least 1.5 hours per pound. It obviously depends on the thickness of the cut and the doneness you desire.
3. Moisturize the meat: Brining or curing the meat is important to prevent it from drying out in the smoker. As hot smoke tends to rip off the moisture from the meat, adding extra moisture will balance it.
4. Store properly: To keep the pulled pork from drying out during storage, consume any leftovers within 3 days. The best way to keep your meat out of the danger zone is to chill it immediately after cooking.
5. Check for allergies or sensitivities: Some people develop an allergic response to cat serum albumin, which cross-reacts with albumin in pork. This condition is also known as pork-cat syndrome. Symptoms of a pork allergy or sensitivity can include stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
6. Properly cook and smoke your meat: Undercooked pork meat or dried and smoked pork products tend to cause more reactions than well-cooked pork meat. Smoked meat may also be linked to bacterial infections such as Listeria or Clostridium botulinum, which can result in foodborne illnesses.
By following these tips, you can safely enjoy delicious pulled pork without any negative health effects.