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Animal Blood- Safety of Pig vs. Cow blood (contributed by Orb)
 

Though the possibility of becoming ill from Pork blood is small, why risk it at all? It has nothing to do with pathogens, but instead with parasites. Trichinosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the intestinal roundworm, Trichinella spiralis. Trichinosis is prevented by cooking all pork and pork products at a temperature and for a sufficient amount of time to allow all parts to reach 71° C.

The eggs of this parasite can be found in a certain percentage of all pigs raised for dietary uses ... which is why everyone always tells you to be certain to cook pork thoroughly before eating. It can also be found in the blood of the animal. Unfortunately, heating the blood to the suggested 71° C essentially destroys it, as far as it being "fresh" any longer, though you can make a nice blood pudding from it (I hear, I don't do cooked blood).

In the infective stages, trichinosis causes intestinal ailments, nausea, vomiting, and watery stools. Later symptoms are facial swelling, headache, and delirium. Some people recovering from trichinosis suffer permanent heart or eye damage, and about 5 percent of cases are fatal. Trichinosis may be successfully treated with drugs before the blood migration phase (which is when the parasite eggs enter the blood stream of the host before attaching themselves to muscle fibers and forming cysts), but it is difficult to diagnose in the early stages. This disease is difficult to see in dietary pigs, and therefore a good deal of pork is sold that is infected. If you buy blood from a butcher, your chances of getting infected blood are higher, as it does not come from a major plant with FDA inspectors on site. The inspection system for small butcher shops is significantly different from that of major plants (more lax). Therefore, anytime you purchase ANY meat or blood product from a butcher you take a risk of some sort. Good reason to know your butcher well.

Beef blood is significantly safer as there are very few diseases or parasites that can be exchanged between humans and cows (mad cow disease being the only one I know of really - it being of little consequence here in the US).

Besides, I happen to like the taste of beef blood better than pig anyway.

Pork Update (Addendum by MemoryandDream)

There have been a lot of misconceptions that Trichinosis no longer exists. I have repeatedly read people claim it is no longer an issue. I want to quote the USDA's guidelines just to clarify the facts:

What Foodborne Organisms Are Associated With Pork?
Pork must be adequately cooked to eliminate disease-causing parasites and bacteria that may be present. Humans may contract trichinosis (caused by the parasite, Trichinella spiralis) by eating undercooked pork. Much progress has been made in reducing trichinosis in grain-fed hogs and human cases have greatly declined since 1950. Today's pork can be enjoyed when cooked to a medium internal temperature of 160 F or a well-done internal temperature of 170 F.

Some other foodborne micro-organisms that can be found in pork, as well as other meats and poultry, are Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. They are all destroyed by proper handling and thorough cooking to an internal temperature of 160 F
.

-Source (Retrieved July 3, 2007)

Please note that while it does state it is less common these days, that it still DOES exist and that there is still a significant risk from illness in uncooked or undercooked meats and blood.

Additionally, here are the potentially dangerous organisms found in beef:

What Foodborne Organisms are Associated with Beef?
Escherichia coli can colonize in the intestines of animals, which could contaminate muscle meat at slaughter. E. coli O157:H7 is a rare strain that produces large quantities of a potent toxin that forms in and causes severe damage to the lining of the intestine. The disease produced by it is called Hemorrhagic Colitis and is characterized by bloody diarrhea. E. coli O157:H7 is easily destroyed by thorough cooking.

Salmonella may be found in the intestinal tracts of livestock, poultry, dogs, cats, and other warm-blooded animals. There are about 2,000 Salmonella bacterial species. Freezing doesn't kill this microorganism, but it is destroyed by thorough cooking. Salmonella must be eaten to cause illness. They cannot enter the body through a skin cut. Cross-contamination can occur if raw meat or its juices contact cooked food or foods that will be eaten raw, such as salad.

Staphylococcus aureus can be carried on human hands, nasal passages, or throats. Most foodborne illness outbreaks are a result of contamination from food handlers and production of a heat-stable toxin in the food. Sanitary food handling and proper cooking and refrigerating should prevent staphylococcal foodborne illness.

Listeria monocytogenes is destroyed by cooking, but a cooked product can be recontaminated by poor handling practices and poor sanitation. FSIS has a zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes in cooked and ready-to-eat products such as beef franks or lunchmeat. Observe handling information such as "Keep Refrigerated" and "Use-By" dates on labels.
-Source (Retrieved July 3, 2007)

 

     

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