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Know What You Eat


Jul 14, 2010, 6:31 AM

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Know What You Eat

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I am surprised that I have not seen any precautions on this site relating to the recent wide spread flooding in many (not only the border towns and cities) of Mexico. The effect of this major flooding is and will continue to have effects on the food products that many of us will buy and consume even in markets away from the flooded areas. Consumables travel by truck many miles from their original growing and grazing fields.

I do not post this to make persons fearful, only to educate and to make us more aware of what we eat and what we take for granted. Flooding on the large scale as we have seen it in the past month will have long lasting effects of much of the livestock and produce we all eat for months to come.

It is not uncommon for many of us to buy locally from many local Mexican vendors that we have come to know and love. We do not and should not think that our Mexican neighbors that work long and hard to make a decent living for their families, are intentionally trying to sell us something that will bring to us diseases that we really do not want. Some are not so scrupulous as others however and some are just not sophisticated or educated enough to know the dangers of selling drowned and pre deceased meats due to drowning of beef and poultry.

Many are trying feverishly to save what ruined crops of produce (especially corn) they can salvage and sell. After all it may look OK on the surface but here is what really lies ahead for the uninformed. Most of us like to buy fresh food and produce at our local vendors. Be very careful about buying meat, make sure it is local and came from high ground. Dead animals are not uncommonly found to be butchered and sold after death by drowning. Look carefully at your produce you buy. Be very aware of any mold at all on the produce. One has to understand that these Mexican farmers lives and crops have been destroyed and they are only trying to save what they think they can market and bring some money into their family. They are not intentionally trying to make people sick, but it does happen. Remember, for the most part, these are not sophisticated or well educated farmers raising and selling their crops at our local weekend shops. Separate the leaves of produce and if you see even a single spot of mold pass it by. Wash your produce more than you have before. Heck, I will eat almost anything, but agriculture diseases can be very debilitating. Just this past week there has been an outbreak of food poisoning in the USA from fresh made salsas that have been left on the tables overnight. The CDC has posted warnings about eating fresh made salsa and Guacamole as being a major source of food poisoning. It has been found that simple refrigeration could have prevented many related illnesses. So be aware. I do not know if it is available in Mexico or not but Dengue Fever is alive and well in much of Mexico. If inoculations are available, then get them. My wife thinks they are not available in Mexico, I am thinking otherwise. Dengue Fever is a very nasty malady to get. robt65.

Hound Dog

Jul 14, 2010, 8:43 AM

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Re: [robt65] Know What You Eat

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Your post reminds me of how carelessly meat and other food products are handled all over Mexico and especially in Chiapas where we live part of each year - and often become ill through water, food and even airborne bacteria simply from the act of breathing. Serious digestive illnesses are commonplace in Southern Mexico among locals and foreigners alike so this is a serious issue. Not that it┤s not a serious issue where we live at Lake Chapala as well; it┤s just worse in Southern Mexico.

In fact, in San Cristˇbal de Las Casas, where it is normally cool because of the altitude, locals dislike the March/April warm season which coincides with the mango season because it is common down there for digestive and respiratory illnesses to become widespread from airborne bacteria as human and other animal fecal matter dry out in the surrounding hills. (NOTE: Lots of folks don┤t have indoor plumbing in Chiapas - just surrounding fields.)

I have no sympathy for farmers and ranchers selling dangerous meats, fish, poultry, produce and fruits because they are poor and are trying to salvage their marginal operations but it is not just the poor food producer who is doing this. In San Cristˇbal, one of the world┤s famous soft drink manufacturers sold tainted "purified" drinking water that made many people quite ill and some water purification plants we frquently pass on the street in town are not very clean. The local press in Chiapas often report incidences of local butcher shops selling uninspected, tainted meat intermixed with wholesome meats and a few months ago the city shut down the city┤s main slaughterhouse citing extremely filthy conditions there* which is the reason we only buy meats and poultry sold at establishments such as Sam┤s Club or Bodega Aurrera while down there. We also diligently wash and disinfect all fruits and produce we plan to eat raw.

When we first moved to Lake Chapala in 2001 when the lake had seriously receded, we walked our dogs almost daily on the expansive beach from La Floresta to San Juan Cosala where there were, in those days, many truck farms, cattle herds and even one utterly (udderly?) filthy dairy operation all producing meat, produce, fruit and unpasteurized milk on the toxic lake bed that were subsequently sold in the chapala area through local merchants and, since the produce was sold mostly locally, it looked just fine.

A few years ago, Guadalajara┤s MURAL reported on a survey that found e-coli in 90% of the raw salsa served in local restaurants in Guadalajara and 50% of salsas sold in restaurants in Houston, Texas.

Bon appetit.

* Believe me, if the city┤s main slaughterhouse was closed by the city for "extremely filthy conditions", that means extremely filty conditions indeed by the standards of Chiapas. You can bet that after it was re-opened, if it was, it was still filthy by any standard the reader would anticipate.

(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jul 14, 2010, 1:59 PM)


Jul 14, 2010, 9:02 AM

Views: 18688

Re: [Hound Dog] Know What You Eat

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"A few years ago, Guadalajara┤s MURAL reported on a survey that found e-coli in 90% of the raw salsa served in local restaurants and 50% of salsas sold in restaurants in Houston, Texas."

I know I for one, had a wake up call when I read the article on Salsa contamination. I don't know why I was surprised . . . . I should not have been for sure, just became too complacent I guess. My wife, Jimena, contracted brucellosis from drinking some raw milk at a cafe next door to the Hotel San Fernando in Valles, SLP. She was very ill for a substantial period of time. Still to this day she has some problems with this.

I have learned that many cafes and restaurants serve milk that is not processed correctly. So when I saw your description of the dairy that reminded me about it.


(This post was edited by robt65 on Jul 14, 2010, 9:04 AM)


Jul 14, 2010, 3:28 PM

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Re: [robt65] Know What You Eat

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Judy and I are working at getting rid of giardia right now. It's just terrible. The treatment, Flagyl in large doses, is about as bad as the disease.

Giardia is all over Morelia at the moment. As I posted elsewhere, I personally know about eight people who currently have it. Sheesh!

La Isla

Jul 14, 2010, 4:55 PM

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Re: [esperanza] Know What You Eat

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I'm sorry to hear that you and Judy are so sick. I remember taking Flagyl years ago for a stomach ailment, and it was no picnic. I've never heard of giardia before - what is it?


Jul 14, 2010, 4:59 PM

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Re: [La Isla] Know What You Eat

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Look here for glardia;ie=utf8&oe=utf8

Rolly Pirate

La Isla

Jul 14, 2010, 5:07 PM

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Re: [Rolly] Know What You Eat

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Thanks, Rolly.


Jul 14, 2010, 6:12 PM

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Re: [robt65] Know What You Eat

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I understand and appreciate the warning. I do. But the premise of "know what you eat" is practically impossible in the world we live in, isn't it? We can be vigilant, and take precautions, and then.....what?

Not eat?

Unless you buy an entire mountain and grow and raise your own food up high with nobody and nothing above you, it's still a roll of the dice.

Of course, an educated roll of the dice provides better odds than ignorance, but still....

Who's hungry?


Jul 14, 2010, 6:38 PM

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Re: [tashby] Know What You Eat

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Hi Tashby,

I agree with you, you are 100% correct. We can never even begin to scratch the surface. As you say and as I have tried to say . . . . . know what you eat. We can't always know where our food comes from or even a small part of it all. We would all starve to death. We can be more vigilant each time we hear a warning though. Just like some one on this forum last week or so was saying something about salsa. I was amazed at the numbers of incidences of e. coli from this one thing. So remind everyone again. We all get complacent. That is not good. I appreciated that wake up call about the salsa and guacamole sauce. Of course I knew it but I had also become complacent, it's human nature. I figured if I can be complacent, then everyone can. But I will do my best to find out a little more, now that the floods have come. That shouldn't be to hard to say to someone , "Ah nice looking fruit, is that grown here . . .. sure maybe they won,t tell the truth but then again maybe they will . . . . . like you say, in the long run it is probably all a crap shoot anyway. . . . . . . But I believe that we can still keep narrowing the odds.



Jul 14, 2010, 6:50 PM

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Re: [esperanza] Know What You Eat

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Sorry to hear you are both ill. I always associated giardia from drinking from mountain streams without purifying the water. I never thought of an outbreak ocurring in an urban environment.

Is it safe to eat in Morelia restaurants at present?
Fonda Marceva? Hamburgesas Richard's?



Jul 14, 2010, 9:30 PM

Views: 18587

Re: [Anonimo] Know What You Eat

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Hi Anonimo, we're all well and doing fine here. No one I know personally here in Morelia is ill at the moment. I'm sorry to hear about esperanza and here friends, I guess we will have to add an extra measure of caution. I wish I knew how they all managed to contract that protozoa.

We have eaten out just a couple times in the past week or so but in none of the places you mentioned. Tere shops at mercado San Juan for meat, cheese, and produce. Every morning we have fresh vegetable juice from carrot, beet, and celery and fresh fruit with yogurt and granola is also part of our everyday breakfast. After that we consume tomatoes, onions, and various other vegetables purchased at the mercado. Tortillas of course are consumed in quantity in the house also.

What I am saying is that we are purchasing and eating foods at the neighborhood outlets and were not aware of any problems going around until this thread so have not been taking any special precautions. If esperanza and her friends can think of a common experience they've shared that may have brought them into contact with their protozoa we would like to hear about it in order to avoid it. Otherwise, it must be luck of the draw. So far we are doing fine.