Years have passed since Pablo Ruiz worked as a floor supervisor inside a swine slaughterhouse in Austin, Minnesota. Yet his body remains in constant pain, the result, medical experts say, of inhaling a daily dose of pig brain tissue mist.
According to Ted Genoways, author the new book The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, Ruiz, was one of the roughly two dozen former workers -- 90 percent of them Hispanic -- at the Spam factory in southern Minnesota, who in 2006 showed symptoms of a bizarre neurological disease that caused body fatigue and extreme pain in the extremities, as well as swelling of the spine and brain.
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Mist of pig brain tissue sickened slaughterhouse workers