Mussels are a type of shellfish that is known to contain vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed or fried as an entrée or appetizer. Regardless of how mussels are prepared and the dish it will be used for, it is best to start with fresh mussels. It is important to note that mussels that do not open during the cooking process or have cracks or chips on the shell might be dead. The meat of dead mussels degenerates, thus increasing the risk for contamination by microorganisms, infectious diseases, food poisoning and other health issues. If you want to learn the appropriate steps to take if food poisoning is suspected, all you have to do is to enroll in a course on first aid today.
Mussels that were taken from contaminated water sources have the risk for infection and chemical poisoning. Always bear in mind that the level of contamination tends of vary based on the location and the drainage. With this in mind, knowing the exact source of the mussels before buying them can help minimize the risk for any possible health issues.
It is important to note that mussels might contain adenoviruses that can increase the risk for infection. These adenoviruses are responsible for causing bladder, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections that might result to rashes, diarrhea and pneumonia among those who ate mussels.
In a study conducted, high rates of blue mussels were contaminated with adenovirus. The increased variability and infrequent occurrence of the accumulated viruses poses as a big factor that affects food safety.
Heavy metal contamination
When mussels are contaminated with heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury or lead, it can increase the risk for birth defects and neurological damage. There is a big difference in the concentration of heavy metals in mussels found along the coastal waters in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Water with chemicals and land minerals from industrial activities affects the concentration of the heavy metals.
Parasites specifically cryptosporidium parvum oocysts are known to infect the gastrointestinal tract. Based on studies conducted, it was discovered that this infectious parasite is present in mussels from a shellfish-producing region in Spain. It was concluded that the mussels serves as a reservoir of the parasite for humans. Once an individual is infected with these parasites, he/she requires long-term treatment.
This is why it is important to take the necessary precautions when eating certain shellfish including mussels. It is vital to know the exact source of the mussels that you are about to eat in order to avoid any of the health issues that might occur. This is also an issue to worry about if you are travelling to other countries and you happen to order a dish where mussels are used. If food poisoning is suspected, it is best to have the individual properly assessed by a doctor.