Parasites

a. General. Examine the product to detect any parasites present in the product and classify them as being parasites. A parasite is any organism that grows on or in another organism in such a way to damage or harm the other organism.

b. Beef Measles (Cysticercus bovis). This parasite, commonly called C. bovis or beef measles, often occurs in cattle. It is the infective stage of a tapeworm of man, Taenia saginata. Man acquires the tapeworm by eating improperly cooked infective beef. When the beef animal consumes the infective stage, the larvae migrate to specific tissues and form a cyst. It is the cyst that we are trying to locate in the product. The cyst is found chiefly in jaw muscles, heart, diaphragm, and any red muscle of the beef carcass. Hopefully, the cyst will be found on postmortem examination of the beef carcass. Carcasses of cattle displaying lesions of C. bovis should be condemned if the infestation is extensive. If the infestation is not extensive, the carcass is passed for food after removal of the cysts and after the carcass is held continuously at a temperature not higher than 15°F (-10°C) for a period of not less than ten days.

c. Pork Measles (Cysticercus cellulosae). This disease is known as pork measles. The cystic form of Taenia solium, pork tapeworm of man, produces the bladder worm, C. cellulosae, in its intermediate host, the swine. The cysts are found in subcutaneous tissues, striated muscles, and other tissues of the pork carcass. Affected muscles may resemble grapelike clusters of cysts. A carcass affected with pork measles is unfit for food.

d. Liver Flukes. Fasciola hepatica and Fascioloides magna are two different types of liver flukes that may infest the livers of cattle and sheep. The liver flukes live in the bile ducts of the liver, but they may migrate to other tissues of the carcass. The diaphragm, lungs, and skeletal muscles are occasionally affected, and the lesions contain a characteristic black pigment. The infested liver has uneven surfaces due to great damage and encapsulation of the parasite in the organ. There is also characteristic black pigmentation of the liver and lymph nodes of the region. Affected livers are unfit for food, regardless of the extent of the infestation. The other affected parts of the carcass must be trimmed and removed. Trimming is done to remove any scar tissue and pigmentation due to migration of the flukes.

e. Other Parasites. There are several other parasites of importance to man. However, they can normally be detected in meats only by the use of a microscope.

(1) Sarcocystis. This involves parasitic protozoa. The ingested spore-containing cyst reaches the small intestine, the spores are freed, and they multiply and migrate to muscular tissue, where they grow and develop into sarcocysts. No human deaths caused by this parasite have been reported.

(2) Trichinosis. The causative agent of this disease is Trichinella spiralis. The host acquires the infection by eating viable encysted larvae in the muscles of infected animals. Man becomes infected by eating the larvae in raw or partially cooked pork products. Swine are infected by eating raw or partially cooked garbage that contains uncooked meat scraps. Many may also be infected by eating beef products (such as hamburger) that have been adulterated either intentionally or inadvertently with pork. The clinical disease in man is highly variable, ranging from a mild febrile disease to a fulminating fatal disease. The diagnosis of Trichinella spiralis infection in pork depends principally upon detection of the encysted larvae by an inspecting veterinarian.

(3) Hydatidosis. This disease in humans is caused by the larval stage or hydatid cyst of two species of tapeworms, Echinococcus granulosis and E. multilocularis. Dogs, the natural hosts of the adult form, become infected by eating the meat of animals containing the cysts. Humans contact the disease when dogs have access to uncooked viscera of meat animals and pass the infective eggs on to the carcass of the meat animals.

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