During holidays, we always confine ourselves to any food that we encounter to celebrate with our loved ones. We usually grilling cold cuts or a variety of meat that will be served to all family members during a holiday break. Diet is no longer a part of our routine during this time of the year because we are currently spending our time with our loved ones that are providing quality time once in a year. Even if we gain a little bit of weight, the time that we spent with our loved ones is already enough for us to have a memorable holiday.

It is always good to spend our holidays with our loved ones, which is a memorable way of enhancing our relationships with families, friends, and relatives. Food feasts are always served during holidays, which provides numerous choices of food that you will share. However, unused ingredients could signal the growth of microorganisms, which could potentially destroy the viability of the food that we eat during feasts. In this reason, we should be always careful for every meal that is being served so that we will prevent ourselves from being in a situation where our health is compromised.
Roasted pork, a favorite during holiday festivities
Every Christmas, New Year, and other special occasions always serves numerous food choices for us to eat and celebrate. Usually, meat is always prepared and served, which is symbolizing a feast when we go out and celebrate the holiday season with our friends and relatives. However, there are several reported cases of diseases associated with consuming contaminated items that are responsible for debilitating our health. These are meat varieties that are prepared in poor sanitary conditions, prompting high health-risk for unsuspecting individuals or groups who are buying consumable items to fulfill their holiday treats.

Tradition is always a thing that comes to our mind when we spend our holidays with families and friends at home, work, or at a place where we live. Every person will either bring or prepare a dish, which will be served to everyone when gatherings start to take place. Every place around the world holds their tradition every holidays. Even in non-holiday season, there are groups and organization that always prepares and serves a variety of food choices to let others discover different cuisines.

What is a contaminated meat?

These are meat that is already filled with a set of pathogenic microorganism that may potentially cause harm to the health of humans and other animals. These include virus, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and one-celled organisms. Ingesting contaminated products is a concern because it can take away the life of an individual or the whole family. Initial signs and symptoms are undetectable because the pathogen may initially enter into a convalescent stage. When the pathogens mature inside the body of its host, it will start replicating at a faster rate that can cause complications. It is better to be a food critic than to be a victim of food poisoning that might eventually end our lives.

Grilled meat is not always safe to eat 

Causes of contaminated meat

One major cause is by poor sanitation. Meat processing plants using uncleaned or unsterile items are the perfect breeding grounds of bacteria, virus, and parasites that may contaminate all processed meat products. Poorly regulated meat processing facilities pose a significant health risk to the community due to its risk to health as well as the safety of the consumers as well as for other personnel who are involved with the operations of the facility.

Double-dead meat is another considerable risk that we usually find in wet markets. Unscrupulous vendors who are selling unsafe meat is a hazardous practice because they are intentionally taking advantage to the purchasing power of the community for their personal gains. For this reason, contaminated meat is not properly monitored. Contaminated meat contains several parasites such as tapeworms that can cause infestation to the brain through the spinal cord passage. Roundworms are the most usual parasites that are found from contaminated meat.

How to prevent eating contaminated meat?

1. Buy meat products to a legally operating meat shop: It is always safe not to buy meat products from random meat shops because the risk of buying contaminated meat can be prevented. Wet markets with an identifiable permit should be the only preferred stores that you should go, along with supermarkets that you see when you purchase household and consumable items at home. Check the establishment for health and sanitary permits to ensure that the product is really safe to buy and consume.

2. Inspect the meat before buying: When buying meat, it is always good to consider yourself an inspector because it will help to prevent your family and yourself from health related disasters. You can inspect all corners of the meat for any evidence of contamination to ensure that you are buying a clean meat that won't cause harm your health. You can inspect the meat by requesting the vendor to check all corners to ensure that the meat is still fresh.

3. Cook immediately after buying it: Even if you buy fresh meat at shops or supermarkets, the risk of pathogen infestation is still very high. The meat that you bought in a clean and safe shop is always prone to attracting traveling pathogenic organisms that will slowly penetrate the meat product and will cause a perfect breeding ground while it is not yet cooked, roasted, or baked.

4. Take more time to cook or bake the meat: It is important to use more time to allow the meat to be perfectly done inside the oven, pan, or on the grill. This ensures that the risk of harmful microorganisms will eventually die, making your food to be prepared and served in a clean manner during this holiday season. All pathogens die out when exposed to a longer heating time.

5. Never mix with contaminated items: Contamination can easily infect other uncontaminated products. This is because direct contact may easily transmit the disease from product to another, making it highly risky for the individual to catch or develop a disease. It is best to isolate the meat from a separate container such as the bowl, plastic container, or plates to prevent food safety hazard as well as health safety issues.

6. Smell the meat: We are always blessed to have the sense of olfaction in order to provide a warning signal if there is something wrong with the food that we eat. If the meat is already emitting a foul-smelling odor, it signifies that something is wrong with the food that you should be eating. This means that the meat is already contaminated and may no longer be safe to eat, even if the food is one of your favorites.

7. Taste the meat first: Aside from our sense of olfaction, we also have our sense of gustatory, which is also used to determine if the food is either safe or not safe to eat. Usually, contaminated products taste so bad, making us to puke. This is because it emits a sour taste, signifying spoilage that is no longer safe to consume. Spoiled foods are not recommended for any pet to consume because it can cause a significant threat to their health as well.

8. Check cooking or baking utensils for cleanliness: Before cooking or preparing the meat to be served, you should have to ensure that the utensils are cleaned before it will be used for any
new dish. Even if the ingredients are clean but placed on a dirty utensil, the risk of contamination is high, making it risky for our health because it could harbor highly virulent pathogens that might risk our health as well as with our lives.

9. Do proper handwashing: This is the simplest thing to do in order to break the chain of infection. Our hand is considered as the most contaminating part of the body because it holds everything that always catches pathogens. Washing our hands involves using soap as well as hand sanitizer so that the bacterial growth will be eventually removed as well as to be expelled in the long run.

10. Avoid holding other items when preparing food: Meat is the perfect spot for any microorganisms to penetrate and replicate. Never touch other items when you start to prepare your food. Therefore, you should prepare necessary ingredients and utensils before holding the meat so that you will not be risking any pathogenic organism to cause infestation to the food that you are going to be consuming after preparing and serving.

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