A parasite needs a host that it can feed off. It causes illness by living and feeding off a host organism. Most parasites are transmited to humans through water contaminated with fecal matter; animals that are fed an unsafe food supply and food handlers with poor personal hygiene. Symptoms can range from mild stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting to ulcers, anemia, muscle pain with possible muscle damage.

Some parasites are very painful such as Trichinella spiralis (Trichinosis) as it goes directly into muscle and forma a spiral. Infection occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous (meat-eating) animals but may also occur in domestic pigs.
In people Trichinellosis is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the larvae of a species of
Trichinella worm.

Some other examples of parasites are Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica.

Giardia is most commonly transmited through contaminated surface water. It can be transmited from person to person (or food) if hands are not washed properly
because it has fecal-oral route.

Food handlesrs with these parasites, with or without symptoms, can contaminate food by not washing their hands after using the washroom and handling food. Also, washing raw vegetables and fruits with contaminated water can spread parasites.

Prevention of parasitic food poisoning:
- Use a safe drinking water supply
- It is very important to use only inspected meat products (
use only government inspected meat).
- Cook hazardous foods thoroughly (if meat is not cooked properly, humans can eat the live parasite and become infected)

- Practice good personal hygiene (proper handwashing)

NOTE: Curing meat (salting), drying, smoking, or microwaving meat does not consistently kill parasites.

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