Food safety risks associated with brain parasites such as worms (which can be linked to epilepsy), cancer-causing viruses, hepatitis E, rabies, and superbugs such as MRSA can be killed with proper cooking, though there are some bugs such as Salmonella and C. diff (getting increasingly common in pork) that are relatively heat-resistant (and there’s always a concern about cross-contamination, especially when the industry resists government controls). Endotoxins in raw or cooked animal and fermented foods may trigger inflammation that may be exacerbated by the presence of saturated fat. Handling poultry can lead to the colonization of one’s colon with antibiotic resistant E. coli that may result in bladder infections in women and cancers from exposure to oncogenic chicken viruses among poultry workers. Even with thorough cooking, though, rare neurotoxins, more common toxins, and biogenic amines in seafood as well as prions and drug residues cannot be effectively cooked out of the meat. While it is often safest to cook meat properly, certain carcinogens are actually created when muscle is cooked; green tea may protect against these heterocyclic amines. Volatile toxins may also pose a respiratory risk when released by oil when frying. Cooking with spices may enhance their DNA protection and may increase the bioavailability of some nutrients, but in extraordinary cases may increase toxicity. Smoked meats may also pose a carcinogenic risk.
Topic summary contributed by Ted.