Scientist warns people from eating undercooked meat

01Jan 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Scientist warns people from eating undercooked meat

A scientist has suggested the need for people to inculcate a habit of cooking meat at the reasonable temperature to kill superbugs—strains of bacteria that are resistant to the majority of antibiotics.

Prof Robinson Mdegela from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)

They said such strains of bacteria may cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections.

Prof Robinson Mdegela from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), warned that uncooked meat provide room for superbugs to pass on to people.

He described superbugs are strains of bacteria that are resistant to the majority of antibiotics, which in turn may cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections.

“Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria can lurk in the meat we eat because of excessive use of antibiotics for farming,” Prof Mdegela said when speaking at two-day media training on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use (AMU).

Organised by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the training is under the project of engaging the food and agriculture sectors in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia in the global efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance using a one health approach on the Fleming Fund phase (FF2).

Prof Mdegela: It’s not advisable: There is a time that need to be passed on as reducing temperature doesn’t kill all the bacteria.

“If we eat it raw or undercooked, there is a risk - albeit small -that we might catch these hard-to-treat infections and become ill. Bacteria are constantly evolving and can learn how to dodge the drugs we use. Over-reliance on antibiotic drugs in any setting can lead to resistance.”

The expert said that regular use of antibiotics in food animals creates the ideal conditions for the emergence of resistant bacteria. “Weak, susceptible bacteria die off, while the antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive.”

He suggested the need for meat consumers to imbibe a culture of storing raw meat separately before cooking and use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination.

“It is also safe to serve steak and other whole cuts of beef and lamb rare (not cooked in the middle) or blue (seared on the outside) as long as they have been properly sealed (cooked quickly at a high temperature on the outside only) to kill any bacteria on the meat's surface.”

The expert said: “Antibiotics are used in farming to treat infections. But most are used preventatively in healthy animals to avoid infection or, controversially, as a way of boosting weight gain.”

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