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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/61

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53
FOOD POISONING.

milk is sold. The frequency with which tuberculosis is transmitted to children through milk should justify this action.

That a profuse diarrhœa may render the flesh of an animal unfit food for man was demonstrated by the cases studied by Gartner. In this instance the cow was observed to have a profuse diarrhœa for two days before she was slaughtered. Both the raw and cooked meat from this animal poisoned the persons who ate it. Medical literature contains the records of many cases of meat poisoning due to the eating of the flesh of cows slaughtered while suffering from puerperal fever. It has been found that the flesh of animals dead of symptomatic anthrax may retain its infection after having been preserved in a dry state for ten years.

One of the most frequently observed forms of meat poisoning is that due to the eating of decomposed sausage. Sausage poisoning, known as botulismus, is most common in parts of Germany. Germans who have brought to the United States their methods of preparing sausage occasionally suffer from this form of poisoning. The writer had occasion two years ago to investigate six cases of this kind, two of which proved fatal. The sausage meat had been placed in uncooked sections of the intestines and alternately frozen and thawed and then eaten raw. In this instance the meat was infected with a highly virulent bacillus, which resembled very closely the Bacterium coli.

In England, Ballard has reported numerous epidemics of meat poisoning, in most of which the meat had become infected with some nonspecific, poison-producing germ. In 1894 the writer was called upon to investigate cases of poisoning due to the eating of pressed chicken. The chickens were killed Tuesday afternoon and left hanging in a market room at ordinary temperature until Wednesday forenoon, when they were drawn and carried to a restaurant and here left in a warm room until Thursday, when they were cooked (not thoroughly), pressed, and served at a banquet in which nearly two hundred men participated. All ate of the chicken, and were more or less seriously poisoned. The meat contained a slender bacillus, which was fatal to white rats, guinea pigs, dogs, and rabbits.

Ermengem states that since 1867 there have been reported 112 epidemics of meat poisoning, in which 6,000 persons have been affected. In 103 of these outbreaks the meat came from diseased animals, while in only five was there any evidence that putrefactive changes in the meat had taken place. My experience convinces me that in this country meat poisoning frequently results from putrefactive changes.

Instances of poisoning from the eating of canned meats have