Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biological risks of eating reptiles

Date:
February 10, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Reptiles are bred in captivity primarily for their skins, but some restaurants and population groups also want them for their meat. A study shows that eating these animals can have side effects that call into question the wisdom of eating this 'delicacy.'

Reptiles are bred in captivity primarily for their skins, but some restaurants and population groups also want them for their meat. A study shows that eating these animals can have side effects that call into question the wisdom of eating this 'delicacy.'

Parasites, bacteria and viruses, and to a lesser extent contamination from heavy metals and residues of veterinary drugs-- eating reptile meat can cause several problems to health. This is the conclusion of a study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, which shows that people can catch certain diseases (trichinosis, pentastomiasis, gnathostomiasis and sparganosis) by eating the meat of reptiles such as crocodiles, turtles, lizards or snakes.

"The clearest microbiological risk comes from the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria, especially Salmonella, and also Shigella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterolitica, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause illnesses of varying degrees of severity," Simone Magnino, lead author of the study and a researcher for the World Health Organization (WHO), said.

This expert says the data about risks to public health are still inconclusive, since there is no comparative information about consuming this meat and the prevalence of pathogens. Also, there are few published research articles about cases of illness associated with consuming reptile meat.

"Although the majority of the information published about these risks is in relation to reptiles raised as domestic animals (pets), there are also publications relating to wild species or those bred in captivity," explains Magnino.

Meat should be frozen

The experts advise people to freeze the meat, just as they would with other foods from animal sources, since this deactivates parasites. Industrial processing and proper cooking (not leaving the meat raw) can also kill off pathogens.

The Scientific Panel on Biological Risks of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides independent scientific advice on issues relating directly or indirectly to food security, including risks associated with eating reptile meat.

The objective of these risk evaluations is to supply the relevant bodies (European Commission, European Parliament, EU Council and member states) with a scientific basis in order to help them draw up legislation to guarantee consumer protection.

Some countries use turtles, crocodiles, snakes and lizards as a source of protein in the human food chain. Frozen imported meat from crocodiles, caimans, iguanas and pythons can be found in the EU. These imports, which are on the rise, come mainly from South Africa, the United States and Zimbabwe, and go primarily to Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Magnino et al. Biological risks associated with consumption of reptile products. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2009; 134 (3): 163 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.07.001

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Biological risks of eating reptiles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209182456.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, February 10). Biological risks of eating reptiles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209182456.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Biological risks of eating reptiles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209182456.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins