This week is no different. Thousands of people may have been infected with hepatitis E (HEV) through consuming pork products. Research carried out between 2014 and 2016 has found that 60 people with HEV had all eaten own-brand sausages and ready-to-eat sliced ham from an unnamed retailer known as Supermarket X.
Pigs in the UK do not have HEV, but the virus is found in pigs in Holland, Germany and other mainland European countries. This virus is then carried over in the pork products.
Hepatitis E can lead to liver failure and can prove especially risky for those with lower immune systems and pregnant women. Since the report of these findings, NHS Blood and Transplant has tested for the virus in blood donations and also plans to screen donated organs and tissue.
This isn’t the first time the virus has been found in pork products. A number of Public Health England studies and reports over the last few years have shown a dramatic increase in people infected with – and products carrying – the virus.
The latest research began in 2014 and was completed last year however due to the sensitivity of the findings it was only recently published.
With a constant stream of viruses, questionable additives and confusion over what product people are actually being sold. It begs the question, what’s actually in meat?
Concerningly, there are some well known diseases that are commonly found it meat like salmonella, E. coli, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis), trichinosis and scrapie. These aren’t things that will cause companies to recall their products, however, it’s widely accepted that these are present in meat which is why cooking and reheating meat is something you need to be so careful of.
In addition to this, beef, pork and chicken are all highly likely to be infected with fecal bacteria, yeah that’s poo bacteria.
Meat isn’t the only animal product hiding something nasty. Dairy products have pus in them. There is also an astonishing number of drugs administered to cattle, which works its way into the animal products that humans consume.
Even without all the diseases, you still can’t be sure what’s lurking in your meat, remember that time when lasagne was found to contain horse meat or was it burgers? And that was the UK, it’s a little more tricky in other countries..
Essentially, no-one really knows what’s in meat. Even when new findings come out, it feels like there will inevitably be something new just round the corner. Maybe the safest option is to just to not eat it.
Image credit: Flickr