An Outbreak Of Spam-nesty?

This is really rather creepy

MINNEAPOLIS – The number of mysterious neurological illnesses among workers who processed pig brains at pork plants in three states has grown to as many as 24, and other possible cases are being evaluated, researchers said Wednesday.
Dr. Daniel Lachance, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, said there are now 18 confirmed cases among people who have worked at the Quality Pork Processors plant in Austin, Minn. That’s up from 13 cases reported as of February.
…The common thread among the affected workers is that they all worked in a part of the plants that used compressed air to blow pig brains out of skulls, Lachance said. All the plants have discontinued the practice.
The working hypothesis, he told reporters, is still that some of the brain tissue was turned into a fine mist during the process, and that the workers became exposed to it and somehow developed an autoimmune response that caused nerve damage.
“The precise mechanism by which that is occurring, we do not yet understand,” Lachance said.
Common symptoms include pain, weakness, fatigue and numbness. A unique pattern of antibodies has been found in all the patients, Lachance said.
A Spanish-language interpreter at an Austin clinic and plant nurses realized last year they were seeing a pattern of similar illnesses among the workers. The Mayo Clinic reported 12 cases to the state Health Department in November. In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the condition a name — progressive inflammatory neuropathy, or PIN.

Breathing misty pig brains can’t be a lot of fun, in fact it’s probably downright offal. A quick glance at the cheery Quality Pork Processors website yields this info

We are a co-packer with Hormel Foods Corporation with Hormel as our only customer. We do the slaughter, cut and conversion of fresh pork products. Located in Austin, Minnesota, we are 100 miles south of Minneapolis/St. Paul and 45 miles west of Rochester, Minnesota. The town of Austin has a population of approximately 23,000 people. We process (kill/cut), on average, 17,000 hogs per day and bone out over 300,000 lbs. of loins per day. QPP employs over 1,200 people.

17,000 per day. That’s a lot of pig brains. I sure hope this is some sort of an allergic reaction by their nervous systems and not an indication that there’s some type of “mad-swine” disease that’s appearing; that would be truly frightening.
In the meantime I hope they just dispose of the whole heads until they figure out what the issue is here.

2 Responses to “An Outbreak Of Spam-nesty?”

  1. ricki says:

    This kind of thing is why I don’t eat bologna. I figure if I can’t figure out what part of the animal’s anatomy I’m going to be eating, I probably don’t want to.
    I have to admit when this story first broke, I actually considered becoming a vegetarian…or at least trying to find a source of kosher-butchered meat (to be butchered under kosher law, the animal has to be able to stand on its own and be clearly free of disease).

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, I can’t say the thought of going veggie has ever occurred to me but this tale does reinforce my long standing prohibition of eating anything that is organ-ick.
    Foie gras not withstanding, obviously.

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