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Author Topic: Pathogens in the Food Chain & Biosafety of Abattoir Workers!  (Read 1743 times)

Offline Spike the Hedgehog

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Given the recent reports of MRSA in Pork ( newbielink: [nonactive]), as well as Hepatitis E ( newbielink: [nonactive]), on top of already known risks of E coli 0157 in beef, salmonella and listeria in chickens, at what point is all this going to be considered enough of a public health hazard to do something about it?

If these pathogens were being studied in a lab, I think they would be considered 'Biosafety Level 2', which would restrict researchers to working with these materials in dedicated fume hoods with HEPA filters ( newbielink:; [nonactive] why don't these restrictions apply to abattoir workers since they are also exposed to these organisms, even if they are not explicitly working on the organisms themselves?

Perhaps when things get to the point that abattoir workers have to wear sealed biohazard suits like Dustin Hoffman's character in Outbreak things might change!


Offline alancalverd

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AFAIK people have been slaughtering and eating animals for several thousand years, and the incidence of lethal infectious disease, at least in Europe, has decreased to the point of insignificance. That's the difference between science and journalism.

That said, religious proscriptions against pork and the hind quarters of sheep do have a factual basis, even if it is nowadays weak, and the suggestion that variant-CJD is actually carried by bovine faeces does explain why so many vegetarian agricutural workers have been diagnosed with it. But I don't think there's much evidence of butchers and cooks being struck down in droves by e coli etc, so handling raw meat seems much less hazardous than eating it.

The longterm problem is much more serious. As the demand for animal protein increases, so a greater proportion of agricultural output will go to feeding these entirely unnecessary animals for the pleasure of the middle classes, and the cost of essential foodstuffs will rise beyond the reach of the poor. Not to mention the CO2 and methane emitted by farm animals, to the consternation of environmental journalists. 

And by the way, slaughterhouse workers wear all sorts of protective clothing to stop them contaminating the meat! 
« Last Edit: 12/08/2015 20:03:40 by alancalverd »

Offline Pecos_Bill

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I watched this earlier this month on the University of California TV channel [1.]. It ought to play in Britain. Check it out.

Food and Fuel for the 21st Century—Algae and the Green Revolution 2.0 with Stephen Mayfield -- Cavendish Global Impact Forum


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