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Undercooked meat linked to toxoplasmosis in unborn children

7/14/2000-According to a study in this weeks British Medical Journal eating undercooked, raw, or cured meat during pregnancy is the main risk factor for toxoplasmosis, which can lead to brain damage in an unborn child. Researchers interviewed over 1,000 pregnant women, both with and without toxoplasma infection, across six European cities about their occupations, lifestyle and eating habits. The researchers found that eating raw, undercooked, or cured meat contributed to between 30% and 63% of infections. Weaker associations were also seen in women who reported tasting raw meat during preparation of meals, drinking unpasteurized milk, and working with animals. Despite some limitations of the study, the need for preventative strategies is clear, conclude the authors. They call for improved quality and consistency of information available to pregnant women, better labeling of meat according to farming and processing methods, and improved farm hygiene to reduce infection in animals.








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