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#1
Old 03-23-2003, 02:49 AM
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Pour Coke on Pork and out crawl the worms?

Good friend of mine won't eat pork because her high school science teacher once told her that if you submerged pork in Coke (the beverage, that is) worms would crawl out of it.

After some searching, I came across this site about the Quran explaining why pork is forbidden to certain religions.
It says, in part:

Quote:
Pig's bodies contain many toxins, worms and latent diseases. Although some of these infestations are harbored in other animals, modern veterinarians say that pigs are far more predisposed to these illnesses than other animals. This could be because pigs like to scavenge and will eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, rotting carcasses, excreta (including their own), garbage, and other pigs.

If you pour Coke (yes, the soda) on a slab of pork, and wait a little while, you will see worms crawl out of it.
The only other sites I can find about this, quote the original page.

Is this actually true? And if so, does anyone have any more info about it?

Snopes had nothing, btw.
#2
Old 03-23-2003, 04:03 AM
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It sounds loopy.

Raw pork can have worms or worm eggs; that's one reason why you're told to cook it thoroughly. But IIRC, trichina worms are microscopic, and encyst themselves in the meat if they are present. They don't "crawl."

Any why would Coke kill them? It's basically just carbonated sugar water.

Uncooked pork can spread diseases like trichinosis and tapeworm, but then, chicken can spread salmonella and beef tapeworms exist. The parasites are rarer now that we know about them.

One reason why pork is outlawed is that the pig does eat garbage. In addition, the Hebrews establishing kosher laws were primarily herders who didn't keep pigs.
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#3
Old 03-23-2003, 04:10 AM
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That's utterly ridiculous, and I'm a microbiologist.

There is a risk, though a small one, of trichinosis, as has been said. Cook it all the way through, and you'll be fine.
#4
Old 03-23-2003, 04:24 AM
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Returning to Coke, heard a fellow classmate say that at his school they started experimenting on cats. The initial technique used to put the cats down for anatomy lessons was long and painful (I have finally found out that good veterinarians give the animal a sedative prior to administering the poison. Terribly sick animals do not require this preliminary injection. Otherwise the poison alone does take several minutes and is very painful for the animal and the person watching.) They found by injecting flat (as I remember) Coke directly into the cat's bloodstream, it killed the cat instantly. Have never heard the reason why. Would be interested in finding out why but please, no experimentation on my part. Just hope the above perhaps helps someone avoid the unpleasant experience I had with an inexperienced vet.
#5
Old 03-23-2003, 07:39 AM
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cats and dogs are highly sensitive to caffine..i'm not suprised it killed the poor things!

NEVER feed your cats or dogs anything with caffine in it (i believe it's more of an issue with dogs) that includes sodas, tea, coffee, chocolate etc
#6
Old 03-23-2003, 07:56 AM
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Injecting that much sugar into the blood of a small mammal would throw it into insulin shock, no? Obviously, I'm not an MD. There is a mountain of nonsense out there about Coca-Cola, and I'm inclined to disbelieve anything new I hear about the stuff.
#7
Old 03-23-2003, 12:19 PM
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Who thought it would be a good idea to marinade pork in Coca-Cola before making this "discovery"?
#8
Old 03-23-2003, 12:42 PM
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From the description of the reaction, I would be inclined to believe the caffeine theory more. We did caffeine experiments on fish in biology class and they correspond. Thanks for the suggestions.
#9
Old 03-23-2003, 01:04 PM
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Yes, believe whatever the muslims will say about pork because their religion will make them treat the subject even-handedly and without prejudice. It's pure hogwash. [size="small"]pun intended[/size]
#10
Old 03-23-2003, 01:43 PM
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A number of points...

1. I am neither a doctor nor a veterinarian, but I would guess that injecting any carbonated liquid into an animal would kill it--because of the air bubbles, not the caffeine or the sugar.

http://healthlibrary.com/reading.../injection.htm
Quote:
There is a danger of air getting injected which can cause serious problems sometimes. At the same time very minute bubbles of injected air are not harmful. Do not worry if you happen to observe small bubbles of air while receiving intravenous injections. Only a large quantity of air bubbles (50 cc of air) can be fatal.
http://saferinjecting.org/public...hbk/myths.html
Quote:
The section on veins and arteries shows how, having been injected into a vein, the drug has to pass through the heart and then through the capillaries in the lungs before it can come back to the heart and be pumped up to your brain.

This means that air bubbles can't get to your brain because they get stuck in the capillaries in your lungs.
So I would guess that if you injected a fairly large quantity of a carbonated liquid so that it would go directly to the animal's brain, without going through the capillaries in the lungs, it would kill the animal.

2. The life cycle of the trichina parasite does not include a lengthy stage where it exists as a worm in muscle tissue. It's either living as a worm in the animal's intestines, or it's living as a "cyst" in the muscle tissue.

http://hendrickhealth.org/healthy/001397.htm
Quote:
The life cycle of T. spiralis includes several different stages. The adult trichina lives in the intestinal lining of such meat-eating animals as swine, bears, walrus, and rodents. After mating, the male worm dies while the female goes on to produce the offspring.

Roundworms have a stage of development called the embryonic stage, which in many species occurs after birth. In trichinae, however, this embryonic stage occurs within the uterus of the female, so the offspring that are ultimately discharged into the host's intestinal lining are in the larval second stage of life. These larvae--about 1500 from each female worm--travel through the circulatory system to the heart, then through the blood vessels leading to striated muscle (the muscle of the skeletal system and the heart). Most larvae that cannot find suitable locations in striated muscle will die.

Those larvae that reach striated muscle will grow to a length of about one millimeter, coil themselves, and enclose themselves within a protective wall called a cyst. This process is referred to as encysting. The worms in the cysts can live for up to ten years in this form.
It takes them about 3 weeks to do this. And then they wait there for the piece of muscle that they're living in to be eaten by some other animal.

http://genome.iastate.edu/edu/PIH/103.html
Quote:
When they come into contact with skeletal muscle, the larvae invade the muscle and by 17-21 days after infection become mature encysted larvae.
So there's only a three-week window of opportunity for you to soak the piece of pork in Coke before the larvae become encysted and inert. The friend's high school teacher didn't specify "a piece of pork that has been infected with juvenile trichina worms within the last 3 weeks". He only said, "Any piece of pork".

3. Coca-Cola is actually an ingredient in a pork marinade recipe. Methinks that if Coke really did make worms crawl out of the pork, people would have noticed by now " " and would no longer be using Coke as a marinade. "Wait a little while" implies a period of time along the lines of, say, a few minutes. Pork marinade recipes generally call for marination in terms of "hours", not "minutes". It takes a certain amount of time for the marinade to penetrate the meat, and the longer the meat sits in the marinade, the further into the meat the marinade penetrates. If it only took a few minutes for the worms closest to the meat's surface to be affected by the Coke and to start crawling out of the pork, then an overnight marinade, penetrating the meat even further, ought to cause *all* the worms to crawl out of the pork, and the Happy Homemaker ought to have taken her marinated pork loin out of the bowl the next day and noticed lots and lots of 1-millimeter worms floating in it. AFAIK this has never happened, and people have been marinating pork in Coke for a long time.

4. I think that if marinating pork in Coca-Cola makes worms crawl out of it, the USDA would have mentioned it. It would be a helpful method for controlling trichinosis infections. "Just soak it in Coke overnight, get rid of all the worms, then you can cook it rare instead of medium..." But they don't.

http://fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/pork.htm
Quote:
Marinate pork in the refrigerator in a covered container up to 5 days. Boil used marinade before brushing on cooked pork. Discard any uncooked leftover marinade.
The reason given for boiling it before using it as a baste is to kill bacteria, not worms. If worms crawled out of the pork while it was marinating, why wouldn't the USDA mention that you need to boil the marinade to kill the worms *and* the bacteria?

Bottom line: The Straight Dope is that soaking pork in Coca-Cola will not cause worms to crawl out of it. This is another Cokelore Urban Legend. Perhaps Snopes should add it to their page.
#11
Old 03-23-2003, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arturas
...good veterinarians give the animal a sedative prior to administering the poison. Terribly sick animals do not require this preliminary injection. Otherwise the poison alone does take several minutes and is very painful for the animal and the person watching.)
What poison would you be talking about here? The standard procedure is to give them an IV overdose of a barbituate, and death is pretty much instantaneous and completely painless past the initial needlestick. Sometimes you have to give them more than you'd expect, but that's pretty unusual.

Some vets do give fractious or anxious animals a sedative beforehand, especially if they don't place an IV catheter. This isn't to make the euthanasia itself faster, but to keep the animal from acting up during the injection and a)making it harder to hit the vein and b) upsetting the owner even more.

Also, where the hell was your friend going to school that they were putting down their own anatomy specimens? Some vet schools might use fresh specimens, but most use preserved cadavers, and besides, they all use HUMANE euthanasia techniques, not long and painful processes.

Oh, and I apologize for the hijack.
#12
Old 03-23-2003, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arturas

They found by injecting flat (as I remember) Coke directly into the cat's bloodstream, it killed the cat instantly. Have never heard the reason why.
What I'm wondering is who thought of trying this? Were they randomly selecting fluids to inject until it was discovered that flat Coke killed instantly?
#13
Old 03-23-2003, 04:15 PM
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Sheesh! Remind me not to drink Coke when I'm in Lithuania!
#14
Old 03-23-2003, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arturas
Returning to Coke, heard a fellow classmate say that at his school they started experimenting on cats. The initial technique used to put the cats down for anatomy lessons was long and painful (I have finally found out that good veterinarians give the animal a sedative prior to administering the poison. Terribly sick animals do not require this preliminary injection. Otherwise the poison alone does take several minutes and is very painful for the animal and the person watching.) They found by injecting flat (as I remember) Coke directly into the cat's bloodstream, it killed the cat instantly. Have never heard the reason why. Would be interested in finding out why but please, no experimentation on my part. Just hope the above perhaps helps someone avoid the unpleasant experience I had with an inexperienced vet.
Note to self: never take pets to Lithuania for any reason. What, they don't have ketamine in Eastern Europe? What kind of veterinary school was this, anyway?

Seriously, my random guess would be death by embolism from the carbonation bubbles. I know that your friend specified "flat Coke," but I have to think that the supervising vet was perhaps not all that attentive to details.
#15
Old 03-23-2003, 05:19 PM
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Ok. I seem to be behind in answering.
1. I got the impression in biology class (in the States, not Lithuania) that the nicotine we gave the fish affected their hearts since we were measuring the change in heart rates, as I recall. Therefore, the caffeine in coke would only have to reach the heart.
2. Unfortunately, according to this univ. classmate, they were experimenting with different fluids in high school biology class. I presume this was under the direction of a biology teacher, not a vet. They started experimenting because they were appalled by the death being suffered. Why they were killing their own animals, can't say. Why a teacher would continue killing animals in such a brutal fashion is beyond me as well. Chemicals have never stuck in my head, so if he mentioned the chemical, would not have been able to repeat the name when the conversation ended, let alone after 20+ years. I know my biology class teacher thought teaching students to kill an animal taught them something, perhaps about life. You do not want to hear how many blows it took to get the head off a chicken. Again, in the States.
3. Can't tell you what chemical the vet (unfortunately here in Lithuania but not part of any college, just a small city vet) used on the family dog but it was injected directly into the heart. He said that this was the first time he had had such a reaction since he had always put down very sick animals. We put this dog down because she was uncontrollable and did not want to wait until someone was bitten. Here in Lithuania you seldom see stay dogs or other animals. It is too expensive to raise unwanted animals, so animals are rarely put down in full health. Slaughterhouses would not use chemicals. As to chemicals, the Soviets used very different chemicals for people and animals. Western chemicals are penetrating slowly because the doctors have to be trained how to use them. Initially many used them like panaceas, which was also dangerous. There was one case where animal medicine was prescribed in place of human medicine with fatal consequences. In 1997, there was almost no Western medicine available. Now it is perhaps predominately Western European, not US. Again European medicines differ from US medicines. My pharmaceutical dictionaries come from the US and I have trouble finding many medicines. Russian generic medicines are almost virtually unlisted in the US dictionaries. To give you an idea of the difference. US thinking about diarrhea is to coat the lining of the intestines. Russian and Lithuanian thinking is to restore the microflora and so people here usually take doses of microflora (bought at a pharmacy). It works. But it is very unnerving, esp. if you don't understand what is going on. That vet got an earful or three from me, you can be sure.
#16
Old 03-23-2003, 05:27 PM
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Excuse me. Neglected something. Western medicines have penetrated in human practice. I suspect the penetration in veterinary medicine is much slower. In 1996-97, veterinary and agricultural schools here taught almost no English but rather mostly Russian as a second language since most of their technology and techniques were still coming from Russia at that time. The Russian economic crisis is when the rapid change to a Western outlook really took hold in Lithuanian society. I am in no position to say if it played a major role or what the outlook of veterinary medicine in Lithuania is at present.
#17
Old 03-23-2003, 06:04 PM
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Interesting that Coca-Cola is often an ingredient in carnitas recipes. I'm dissapointed now that I've missed the floor show apparently going on in the kitchen as my future supper marinates.
#18
Old 03-23-2003, 09:40 PM
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Coca-Cola is a pretty nice ready-made marinade, if you want a sweet tone to the meat. If Iron Chef is anything to go by, it's used in modern Chinese (a-la Chen Kenichi) cooking, too.
#19
Old 03-23-2003, 09:49 PM
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Does it not bear saying that trichinosis is no longer the threat it once was?
#20
Old 03-23-2003, 11:33 PM
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It is often claimed that the ban on pork found in Jewish and Muslim dietary laws is founded solely or primarily on health concerns regarding trichinoisis.

This suggests two questions:

1.) If the law givers were concerned about the health consequences of eating pork, why did they not simply say "pork is not healthy"? It was done in other contexts; for instance, in Leviticus there is practical advice on determining what is and is not a mark of leprosy, without it being dressed up with talk about how an ordinary pimple is not an adomination before the Lord.

2.) Since proper cooking eliminates the danger of infection, why were the laws concerning pork in the form of an outright ban, rather than in the form of instructions to cook the pork thoroughly? After all, it is a bad idea to eat produce that is unwashed, but the response of religious leaders was not to ban eating produce; rather, people were expected to clean it first.

Anthropologist Marvin Harris has argued at some length that the ban on pork, like a lot of religious strictures, was primarily based on economics. A desert society which invested a great deal of resources to raising swine could find itself in serious trouble when harvests were poor. In support of this idea that the laws are designed to uphold wise economic policy, Harris cites a tropical culture where raising and eating pork is actually a religious requirement. By analogy, he also cites arguments that the Hindu ban on killing cows has, in the long run, actually been benificial to Indian society.

While some social scientists have been critical of Harris' argument, it may serve as least a partial (and substantial) explanation of the condemnation of pork among Mideasterners.

This is a WAG, but the fact that pigs, left to their natural state, are not at all like Arnold Ziffel but actually pretty disgusting--wallowing in filth, and mean besides, might also have helped give them an image problem in some cultures.
#21
Old 03-23-2003, 11:57 PM
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Ok. I got my second brain cell awake and remembered that biology class experiment. We were examining circulatory system dilation (with alcohol) and constriction (using, it seems now, nicotin, not caffeine). Too large a dose of the latter caused a massive heart attack because the blood could no longer flow through too large a part of the body. Would caffeine work in the same way?
#22
Old 03-24-2003, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan
Does it not bear saying that trichinosis is no longer the threat it once was?
It's not as common as it used to be, but it's still out there.
#23
Old 03-24-2003, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smeghead
It's not as common as it used to be, but it's still out there.
I have a vague memory that the last death in the USA from trichinosis was 50+ years ago. Am I hallucinating again?
#24
Old 03-24-2003, 02:18 AM
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I submit the half-remembered words of (I think) Harry Kemelman, in the mouth of his fictional rabbi/detective David Small: "We do not avoid pork because it is not healthful or delicious to eat; we avoid pork because God commanded it."

I think trying to come up with public-health excuses for religious commandments is as ridiculous as trying to find physical explanations for the miracles. Either you believe or you don't.
#25
Old 03-24-2003, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by emolson
I have a vague memory that the last death in the USA from trichinosis was 50+ years ago. Am I hallucinating again?
50 sounds a bit high to me. I poked around the CDC's website for a bit just now and found data from a few years ago, when there were about 35 cases in the US, but no deaths. Argentina, OTOH, had over a thousand cases and several deaths. Most of the cases worldwide now come from wild game, usually boar.

Here is a nifty little graph. There's more information about the number of cases over the last few decades on that page, but I couldn't find anything about number of deaths.
#26
Old 03-24-2003, 09:34 AM
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Well, the official word from the USDA is that it's still out there, but not as bad as it used to be.

http://fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/pork.htm
Quote:
Pork must be adequately cooked to eliminate disease-causing parasites and bacteria that may be present. Humans may contract trichinosis (caused by the parasite, Trichinella spiralis) by eating undercooked pork. Much progress has been made in reducing trichinosis in grain-fed hogs and human cases have greatly declined since 1950. Today's pork can be enjoyed when cooked to a medium internal temperature of 160 F or a well-done internal temperature of 170 F.
#27
Old 03-24-2003, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by emolson
I have a vague memory that the last death in the USA from trichinosis was 50+ years ago. Am I hallucinating again?
A little p.s. to my earlier post (I apologize if this becoming a hijack): I also heard that the first wife of Cajun humorist and chef Justin Wilson died of trichinosis. Considering the dietary habits* of the Cajuns I know, that would not be too surprising.


*There is a saying that Cajuns will eat anything that doesn't eat them first, and they make exceptions to the rule. True story: A guy was out bowfishing for alligator gar when he speared a 6-footer. In the ensuing struggle to get the fish in the boat, the gar took a bite out of the guy's leg. He ended up having to beat it to death with a concrete block he kept in the boat as an anchor. Naturally, he took it home and cooked it.
#28
Old 03-24-2003, 08:35 PM
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Is there still a General Question on the table here?
#29
Old 03-24-2003, 08:51 PM
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Chuckle

Quote:
Originally posted by raisinbread
Yes, believe whatever the muslims will say about pork because their religion will make them treat the subject even-handedly and without prejudice. It's pure hogwash. [size="small"]pun intended[/size]
True for most muslims. Not really a big deal for me, though. I can frequently be seen flinging bits of pork to the side when the only food around is pork fried rice, or nabbing peppers off the sausage and peppers tray. I don't really stress out about the whole thing.
I believe there may be a certain amount of spiritual benefit obtained from following tradition or excercising a bit of self-denial, but not from being a hard-liner.

Just my opinion...I'm probably a half-assed muslim anyway.

Heretically yours,

Martin
#30
Old 03-24-2003, 09:05 PM
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Oops, forgot about this.

Quote:
Originally posted by raisinbread
Yes, believe whatever the muslims will say about pork because their religion will make them treat the subject even-handedly and without prejudice. It's pure hogwash. [size="small"]pun intended[/size]
raisinbread, what, precisely, the fuck are you nattering on about?

Yes, I expect an answer.
#31
Old 03-24-2003, 10:59 PM
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"Why pork was proscribed by Hebraic law is still unclear, and some scholars believe that the Torah merely suggested not eating pork at certain restaurants." - Woody Allen
#32
Old 03-24-2003, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AskNott
Injecting that much sugar into the blood of a small mammal would throw it into insulin shock, no?
IIRC cats are carnivores and might be more suceptible to a "sugar shock" than an omnivore. If I had to field a guess on quick death reason, I would bet more on the acidity of the soda throwing the cats blood pH all out of whack. That would jack up all kinds of things not to mention massive hemolytic reactions from the acid. Sounds icky but I could see where it would be quick.
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