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I recently cooked a delicious meal of roasted pork shoulder with apples and cranberries for my husband and a friend. All three of us ate it. My husband and friend complained of stomach trouble (upset stomach) from eating the dish, but I was absolutely fine. It is bothering me because I know that the pork was fresh and healthy, and that there were no weird ingredients in it that could cause problems. It was properly cooked, plus reheated in the microwave, and it was a relatively lean cut of meat.

Can anyone tell me whether it is possible to have a pork allergy, or what else could be the explanation for this? My thought was that it was possible to get an upset stomach because of the fat in the dish, but my husband eats lots of fatty foods without a problem.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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closed as not constructive by TFD, Jay, SAJ14SAJ, Mien, KatieK Apr 4 '13 at 22:10

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I realize this question is old, but it has resurfaced, and the first thing I wonder is: how do you know it was the pork? Food born illness usually takes 24-48 hours to come on, so its hard to know exactly which food it was. But even so, two people is not very many. There could be two idiosyncratic, unrelated causes for the observed symptoms. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 17 '12 at 13:28
Yes, it's possible to be allergic to pork (and even, to get it from a tick bite), but what you describe would either be food poisioning, or a food intollerance, not an allergy. (and thus, much harder to pin down). –  Joe Dec 17 '12 at 19:45
and why jump to pork when there were apples, cranberries, i would assume other vegetation as well that are much more likely to harbor ecoli and other stuff. –  Brendan Jan 31 '13 at 18:55

8 Answers 8

I doubt that it was some allergy if two unrelated people experienced a problem. Especially if they don't have a history. Allergies aren't contagious, after all.

If you're right and the meat was handled properly and wasn't excessively fatty (which can cause some people upset), I think I'd look to some other component of the meal. Surely pork wasn't the only thing you served. And don't rule out even innocuous-sounding ingredients--it could have been the skins on the cranberries (things like that can give people who don't get much fiber some trouble), or something completely unrelated to the pork dish. Possibly it was something the other two ate or drank over the course of the evening that you didn't.

And I would doubt the idea of bad pork in any case, as the things you can get from bad pork would be much worse than upset stomach.

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Two out of three people sounds like a bacterial infection to me. Bacterial, like viral, infections, can be successfully conquered by some people with stronger immune defenses, while others will get sick. Meat can be fraught with all sorts of bacteria, and anything it touches before being cooked can also get contaminated. You need to make sure meat (and anything proximal to it during preparation) is cooked all the way through, and an issue with reheating in the microwave is that microwaves cook from the outside in, so the center may not have been heated sufficiently. Meat thermometers are always a good idea, both for cooking and reheating. The FDA website can tell you what temperature each type of meat needs to reach for maximum safety.

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I know many people (including myself) who suffer from an intolerance to pork. Stomach cramps and diarrhea follow after eating it sometimes (but not always) Doctor told me that pork is 'one of those foods' that can cause upset stomaches. It's not because it isn't cooked properly or unhealthy. :)

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Continuing on FoodTasteds reasoning, the problem might be the reheating. If you prepared your meal on beforehand and didn't cool it properly there might have been some bacteria build up. The microwave doesn't necessarily heat the dish evenly which could mean there was some bacteria that didn't die. This is just guessing on my part, you didn't specify how long the meal was prepared before you reheated it.

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Good thoughts, but I think it's important to remember that most food-borne bacteria like that will take longer to make you sick, and make you a lot sicker than Mariah talked about. Unless she's just being polite! –  bikeboy389 Nov 16 '10 at 15:35
The food-borne bacteria definitely crossed my mind, but then I wonder why I would be totally fine while the other two diners got sick. The sickness was definitely not very serious, and very short lived, so I'm not worried about salmonella trichinosis or anything like that. –  Mariah McPherson Nov 16 '10 at 15:41

Bacon or ham doesn't affect me, but if I eat roast pork, mince or chops and it's not because of fattiness, even top quality lean pork fillets upset my stomach. I always end up with an upset stomach afterwards. I think I have an intolerance and maybe your husband and friend do as well. No other meat affects me this way.

I hadn't eaten pork for a long time but there was a delicious looking roast pork at a large family party I felt obliged to try. But I had painful cramps not long after. No one else seemed affected. So I know now that I can't eat pork.

But my sister is the opposite she can't eat beef without getting cramps and diahrea, but pork is fine for her.

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I also have a similar response to eating pork when I am in Australia where I live. As a result I have had to give up eating pork whilst in Australia. We spend 5 months a year in Europe and I regularly eat pork there and have never had a bad reaction to it. Likewise I have eaten pork in Asia, Southern Africa and South America and have never had a reaction there either. I have never eaten pork in N America so don't know the situation there. I also don't have problems with ham or bacon and presume that the curing process results in the elimination of the compound involved.

I think that there must be something that is fed to the pigs in Australia and not in Europe etc.

My reaction to the pork starts about an hour after eating it with horrendous stomach pains, and cramps, shaking inside, sick feeling cold shivers for about an hour and then finally the diarhhea starts and lasts about 2 hours. Once everything has been expelled from my system I feel perfectly ok again.

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From the symptoms you describe, it's a food intollerance, but it's not always the food you just ate. During my worst period, I'd react about 5-15 minutes into a meal, if I had eaten dairy in the previous meal. (and I was clued into what to look for by speaking to someone with celiac's, so it's not meat or dairy only) –  Joe Dec 17 '12 at 19:43

Having recently recovered from a bit of food poisoning, I've done a fair amount of looking into the problem. It can take up to 48 hours for food poisoning to kick in, so anything within the last couple of days (that they ate together) could be the culprit. On the flip side of that, perhaps you have a slightly more robust digestion system.

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The cooked fruit can also cause a little upset stomach - I'm sensitive to warm apple pie or stewed apples. I think what is evident is that why our community is willing to offer possible suggestions, we really can't say with 100% accuracy what affected your husband and friend after that meal. I would look for a pattern of symptoms and then check with a doctor if they're troublesome enough.

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