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Listeria, Salmonella and Co: raw sausages can contain pathogens
A recently published report by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) shows that spreadable raw sausages such as tea and sausage are a possible source of infection for people with various pathogens.
Possible source of contagion for humans
In recent years, people have been warned that eating Mett and raw sausages can lead to hepatitis E infections. But such foods pose even more health risks. Because, as the results of the "Zoonoses Monitoring 2017" by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) show, spreadable raw sausages (e.g. tea and sausage) are a possible source of infection for people with various pathogens.
Transfer to the meat during slaughter and processing
As the authors explain in the introduction, zoonoses are diseases or infections that can be transmitted naturally or directly between humans and animals.
"Viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites or prions can be considered as zoonotic agents," says the report.
"Zoonotic agents are widespread in animal populations and can be used by farm animals, which as a rule do not show any signs of infection or disease, e.g. transferred to the meat during slaughter and processing. "
And: "Food contaminated with zoonotic agents is an important source of infection for humans. Contamination with zoonotic agents can occur at all stages of the food chain from production to consumption."
The main foodborne pathogens
As the BVL explains in a communication, the monitoring authorities of the federal states took a total of 6,922 samples for all levels of the food chain for zoonoses monitoring in 2017 and examined them for the presence of the most important foodborne pathogens.
A total of 2,414 bacterial isolates were obtained and further characterized in the national reference laboratories at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and examined for their resistance to selected antibiotics.
The main results of the report, which can be downloaded here:
The investigation offices found listeria in every eighth sample. Some raw sausages were also contaminated with STEC / VTEC bacteria, which can cause EHEC in humans.
And with broilers, the test results are unchanged. Campylobacter was again detected in more than half of the meat samples.
The results in detail: Listeria monocytogenes were detected in 12.2 percent of the spreadable raw sausage samples. Two samples measured germ levels that represent a potential health hazard for humans.
Listeria can cause so-called “listeriosis” in humans. The condition can cause flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhea and fever.
According to health experts, the germs can also lead to brain inflammation or blood poisoning in certain risk groups (pregnant women, infants, people with weakened immune systems).
In extreme cases, the disease can also be fatal.
Listeria infections are less common compared to Salmonella and Campylobacter infections, but they play an important role due to the severity of the disease that they can trigger, according to the BVL.
No progress in reducing Campylobacter
According to the BVL, Campylobacter spp. There is still no progress in the broiler food chain.
About a quarter of the neck skin samples (22.7 percent) of broilers at the slaughterhouse showed high bacterial counts of over 1,000 CFU / g.
The detection rate of Campylobacter spp. fresh chicken meat samples were 51.5 percent, also at the same level as in previous years.
Campylobacter can cause infections that include symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
In rare cases, complications from Campylobacteriosis can also be Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease of the nervous system.
In immunocompromised patients, a chronic course threatens and in the worst case the infection can reach life-threatening proportions.
Less salmonella detected
The decline in the salmonella detection rate in minced pork samples that has been observed in recent years continued in 2017: with 0.7 percent positive samples, salmonella was detected in minced meat samples significantly less frequently than in previous years.
Salmonella can cause severe gastrointestinal disorders (salmonellosis). The disease occurs a few hours to days after the infection and manifests itself primarily through sudden onset diarrhea, abdominal pain, malaise, feeling cold and headache.
In some cases, vomiting and mild fever are added. The symptoms usually go away on their own after a few hours or days.
However, fluid loss due to diarrhea and vomiting can be dangerous for infants, young children, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system.
Acute intestinal inflammation from dangerous bacteria
According to the BVL, the results show a high burden on deer and meat from wild ruminants with STEC / VTEC. These bacteria can cause acute intestinal inflammation (EHEC).
The main symptom of an EHEC infection is watery diarrhea (often bloody diarrhea), usually accompanied by severe cramping abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.
The various complications can be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms
In the case of particularly severe courses, the development of a so-called haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), including kidney damage, which can extend to kidney failure, is at risk.
In the worst case scenario, there is a fatal multi-organ failure.
Problematic consumption of scraped meat
The STEC / VTEC detection rate in samples of fresh veal and young beef was only about 6.3 percent.
The higher contamination rates of game meat compared to meat from farm animals are probably related to the more difficult to control conditions in game production.
In samples of Tatar / Schabefleisch 3.5% of STEC / VTEC were detected. Tatar is therefore a vehicle for the transmission of STEC / VTEC to humans, which is particularly problematic due to the usual raw consumption of scraped meat.
Spreadable raw sausages are also a possible source of infection for people with STEC / VTEC: 1.7 percent of the samples examined were positive for STEC / VTEC.
On the BVL website, the experts provide some important tips on food hygiene that can help to destroy dangerous pathogens. (ad)