Sunday, January 8, 2012

What is "Ptomaine Poisoning"?

What is "Ptomaine Poisoning"?

QUESTION: We recently attended a "high class" affair, a benefit for a
charity, and catered by a very reputable firm. However, only hours after the
dinner was over, several people were taken to the hospital with food
poisoning, but neither my husband nor I fell ill. I know the problem as
"tomain poisoning" but can find nothing in my home medical book by that name.
Can you provide the explanations I am seeking?

ANSWER: Though I can't give you all the information requested in your four
page letter, I can help clear up a few points for you. To start, it is
spelled "Ptomaine;" but even then you won't find any information, for
ptomaines are the result of protein decomposition and are perfectly harmless.
Look for your information under "staphylococcal food intoxication" (or "food
poisoning, staphylococcal") and you will find all your answers. When certain
foods, such as salads using mayonnaise, creamy food dressing, or cream filled
pastries, are prepared well ahead of time and then improperly refrigerated,
staph bugs can reproduce rapidly and produce toxins, which in turn cause all
the symptoms you listed, vomiting, "dry heaves" and diarrhea. There is no way
to detect the tainted food, as it looks and smells normal. Since all the food
may not have been prepared at once, or improperly refrigerated, not all the
guests at the banquet became ill. Be happy that you were among the lucky

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