Published On: Sat, Jun 9th, 2012

Organic meat and the risk of toxoplasmosis

Undercooked, organic meats carry an increased risk of the protozoan parasite,  Toxoplasma gondii , according to researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the USDA’s Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory.

toxoplasmosis of the heart

Toxoplasmosis of the heart Photo/CDC

Researchers say in a study published in the journal,  Clinical Infectious Diseases last month that that the animal-friendly free range environments that produce organic meat — open fields with access to grass, soil and water — may be more easily contaminated with infected feces from cats, rats or wildlife.

The authors of the study say the foods with the greatest chance of carrying toxoplasmosis parasites in the U.S. include raw ground beef or rare lamb; unpasteurized goat’s milk; locally produced cured, dried or smoked meat; and raw oysters, clams or mussels.

Study authors, Dr. Jeffrey Jones of the CDC and J.P. Dubey, of the USDA’s Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory say the growing consumer demand for “free-range” and “organically raised” meats, especially pork and poultry, will probably increase the prevalence of T. gondii when people undercook and eat these foods.

Kansas State University Food Safety professor and editor of the website, barfblog, Doug Powell says, “People are not as familiar with this parasite, so we think it doesn’t happen much”.

Unlike fellow foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella which garners a lot of media attention, Toxoplasmosis is under recognized and lacks the familiarity of the others.

Jones and Dubey say the prevention of foodborne transmission of toxoplasmosis consists of adequate cooking of meat, washing of raw fruits and vegetables, prevention of cross contamination in the kitchen, and measures that decrease spread of viable oocysts into the environment.

Read more about toxoplasmosis

Also read the MyHealthNewsDaily report by Cari Nierenberg



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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Japanese researchers step forward to Toxoplasma vaccine development - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Organic meat and the risk of toxoplasmosis  […]

  2. Parasite found in kitty litter linked to suicides according to study | Outbreak News says:

    […] Organic meat and the risk of toxoplasmosis /* […]

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