The cestode parasite Taenia solium is an important cause of foodborne infection throughout tropical and subtropical regions. Ingestion of pork meat infected with T. solium larvae can lead to taeniasis infection in humans. With tourism and the consumption of native food increasing, it is important to investigate potential risks of transmission associated with food preparation methods. In this study, traditional Mexican salt pickling and two methods of pork preparation (as roast pork [cochinita pibil] and in pork and beans [frijol con puerco]) were evaluated in order to determine their effects on T. solium cyst viability in infected tissue. In the control groups, all metacestodes isolated were 100% viable, and only small changes in pH (from 6.0 to 5.9) and temperature (29 to 30°C) were recorded. No viable cysts were detected after 12 and 24 h of salt pickling. The pH of the meat during salting dropped from 6.0 to 5.3. Osmotic changes and dehydration from the salting, rather than a change in pH, could be considered the main cause of cyst death. Temperatures of >65°C damaged T. solium metacestodes in roast pork and in pork and beans. The results of this study indicate that if traditional pork dishes are prepared properly, T. solium cysts are destroyed. The criteria used in this study to evaluate the viability of tissue cysts are discussed.

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