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We are proud to announce that the first TARTARE Newsletter will be published this month! The newsletter will be sent out on a bi-monthly basis to provide the TARTARE team and stakeholders with a combination of updates about project activities, team member spotlights, current news surrounding relevant food safety topics from around the world, and upcoming events of interest. This month's issue will feature an interview from TARTARE doctoral fellow Achenef Melaku about his experience on campus at The Ohio State University receiving training in Dr. Ahmed Yousef’s lab, an introduction to our new TARTARE project manager Nasandra Wright, and a summary of a publication that our own Dr. Kara Morgan was involved with titled “Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Advances in Science and Technology: Exploring the Potential of Qualitative Frameworks” among other information. Portions of the newsletter will be included in future blogs. If you would like to recieve the TARTARE Newsletter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: TARTARE Newsletter.
By: Tracy Turner
Is there a tick that causes people to develop an allergy to red meat, and can it be found it Ohio?
Yes, to both of your questions.
The tick you are referring to is called the lone star tick, which, in certain cases, in some people, can cause an allergy to red meat after being bitten by the tick.
This species of tick entered Ohio over the last decade or so. It has since spread throughout the state, although it is more common in southern Ohio, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
While the lone star tick prefers a wooded habitat, in many cases, it can also be found along the perimeter of pasture and hay fields that extend into the grass, he said.
“It’s known to be an aggressive biter of humans, and while this tick isn’t known to vector or transmit Lyme disease, it can vector other diseases such as ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated-rash illness, tularemia, as well as some viral diseases,” McDermott said. “It has also been associated with causing an allergic syndrome in some people after being bitten.”
According to a study by researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, some people who have been bitten by a lone star tick have gone on to develop an allergy to eating red meat, and in some cases, dairy. The study found that, in rare cases, some people have developed life-threatening allergic reactions to red meat after being bitten by a lone star tick.
The study attributes the allergic reaction to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), which is a type of sugar that some animals make in their bodies. As a result, it’s found in red meats, including beef, pork, and lamb, the exception being primates.
According to published reports, humans don’t have alpha-gal, but they can have an immune response to it.
“If a person is bitten by the lone star tick and has an allergic reaction to the alpha-gal carbohydrate in the tick saliva, they can show food allergy symptoms including hives, itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling, after eating mammalian muscle such as pork, beef, lamb, and venison,” McDermott said. “In severe cases, the individual may suffer anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.”
While the association between lone star tick bites and the allergy are clear, more research is needed to understand why these alpha-gal allergies develop in some people and not in others, according to the study.
“In Ohio, ticks are most active from April through September, although they can be active any time of the year,” McDermott said.
“The three most common ticks that can affect humans, companion animals, and livestock found in the Buckeye State include the blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick), the American dog tick, and the lone star tick,” he said.
To prevent tick bites when in areas where they may be active, McDermott recommend that you should do the following:
- Wear light-colored clothes including a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants and long pants tucked into your socks or boots.
- Apply a tick repellent according to label instructions.
- Wear footwear and clothing that have been treated correctly with permethrin. These can be purchased through many outfitters and clothing companies.
- Do frequent tick checks of your body while outside, and do a thorough inspection at shower time.
- Protect your pets with an anti-tick product recommended by a veterinarian.
- Keep dogs on a leash and avoid allowing them into weedy areas.
- Do not crush or puncture a tick, if you find one attached. Instead, use pointy tweezers or a tick removal tool to carefully remove the tick by grasping the tick as close to your skin as possible and pulling it straight up with steady, even pressure. Then, disinfect the bite site, and wash your hands with soap and water.
- Save the tick for identification.
“Lastly, if you think you may have been exposed to a tick bite or if you show symptoms of alpha-gal allergy, contact your physician right away to get a diagnosis,” McDermott said.
More information on lone star and other ticks can be found at Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, an Ohioline fact sheet. Ohioline is OSU Extension’s free online information resource and can be found at ohioline.osu.edu.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or email@example.com.
Editor: This column was reviewed by Tim McDermott, an Ohio State University Extension educator.
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By: Tracy Turner
Why should I use a meat thermometer while barbecuing steak on the grill? Can’t you just look at the steak to determine if it’s done by the color of the meat?
Although many people use color as an indicator of doneness when grilling meats, to lessen your chance of developing a foodborne illness, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature.
Your question is very timely, considering that July is National Grilling Month, with July 4th generally accepted as the most popular U.S. holiday for grilling, surveys have shown. And because your question is very similar to one that was asked in a previous “Chow Line” column, it’s best answered by reissuing that column here.
According to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, only 34% of the public uses a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers.
But, in order to avoid foodborne illness, the USDA advises consumers to use a food thermometer to accurately measure if meat is cooked to a high enough internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli that might be present.
The safe minimum cooking temperature for ground meats, including beef, pork, veal, and lamb, is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Turkey and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, according to the USDA. Steak and pork can be safely cooked to 145 degrees.
To gauge the most accurate temperature, place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the food.
In addition, the USDA says that you should allow a three-minute rest time after removing the meat from the heat source. During this rest time, the temperature of the meat remains constant or continues to rise, thereby helping to destroy any pathogens that might be present.
The problem with using color as an indicator of doneness for ground beef, for instance, is if raw ground beef is somewhat brown already, it might look fully cooked before it reaches a safe temperature. Different levels of oxygenation at different locations inside and on the surface of the meat can cause the meat to look red on the outside and brown on the inside.
So, if the meat is already brown, it won’t change color during cooking, the USDA says.
Here are some other tips for safe grilling from the USDA and the National Fire Protection Association:
- When marinating meat or poultry, do so in a tightly sealed container kept in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or colder, or place the meat in an iced cooler if you are transporting the food. It’s important to keep the meat chilled because bacteria that can cause foodborne illness grow rapidly at room temperature.
- Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors only.
- Place your grill well away from your home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grills and trays below the grills.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
- Don’t cover or store your grill until it has cooled. Soak coals with water before throwing them away.
Keeping these safety tips in mind can help you have enjoyable barbecues without the worry of getting sick from eating undercooked meats.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line author Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: This column was originally reviewed by Jenny Lobb, educator, family and consumer sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Family and Consumer Sciences
Original article: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-meat-thermometer-is-the-be....