Women's health * Men's health

Man paralysed by poisoned pork chop

Man fights for his life after eating undercooked meat Contracted listeria from uncooked meat

A man who was left paralysed after eating a pork chop contaminated with the food poisoning bug listeria has warned about the dangers of eating undercooked meat.

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Darren Ashall, 46, said he fell ill several weeks after eating pork chops prepared on a caravan stove, which he suspected were undercooked.

This apparently gave him listeria meningitis, a serious disease which has a mortality rate above 25 per cent, and an abscess on his brain.

Listeria bacteria can be found in uncooked meat, vegetables, unpasteurized milk and even in some processed foods. It is killed through sufficient cooking and pasteurisation.

Mr Ashall, from Chorley, Lancashire, said that a month after eating the uncooked meat he went to hospital thinking he was having a heart attack. With his face drooping to one side he was hospitalised and placed in intensive care.

The infection completely paralysed him and he was placed on a ventilator to aid breathing.

It was not until a few weeks later that he regained his vision and voice.

Mr Ashall has been told he will never recover fully from the infection and will be on a course of antibiotics for the rest of his life.

To avoid food poisoning, follow these simple rules:

  • Check your fridge is at the correct temperature for storing food, between 0 and 5 degrees C
  • Home freezers should be no warmer than -18C
  • Keep bottles and jars closed
  • Keep raw meats away from cooked meats in the fridge
  • Store raw meats at the bottom of the fridge (to stop juices dripping onto other foods)
  • Leftovers should be covered and stored in the fridge
  • Eat leftovers within two days, or one day for rice-based dishes
  • Do not keep food in the fridge for too long and always check the use-by dates
  • Ensure that raw meat and poultry, including bacon and sausages are properly cooked. All parts of the food should reach 70 degrees C for at least two minutes
  • If using a barbecue, meat should be cooked in small chunks to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Cooked meat should be steaming hot in the centre. None of the meat should be pink and the juices should run clear. If in doubt, cut it open to check.

When preparing food:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling food and before eating
  • Dry hands thoroughly, as wet hands can transfer bacteria more easily
  • Use separate knives and chopping boards for preparing raw and cooked products.
  • Do not butter or eat bread or pick at salads after handling raw meat, unless you have thoroughly washed your hands in between
  • Always wash salads, including those that are pre-washed
  • Do not wash raw meat, as this may help to spread any food poisoning bacteria. Thorough cooking is the only way to ensure the meat is safe to eat

This article was published on Thu 23 June 2011

Image © LianeM - Fotolia.com

Related Stories

Use this story

Link to this page
Printer friendly version

Share this page