An example of this are the superantigens produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is part of the normal microbial flora that exists on everyone's skin and is one reason why hands should be washed before food prep (not the only reason though!). The symptoms of Staph aureus poisoning are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea in 4 to 6 hours and without a fever. It is so quick because the body is reacting to the ingested toxins. In contrast ingesting live Salmonella bacteria in food produces and intestinal infection (the bugs are growing inside the gut) and so the time to the onset of symptom is much longer - maybe 12 to 24 hours depending on the number of bacteria ingested. Here the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever.
Ah.. I had always wondered about the time difference for onset. That makes good sense.
Any idea how long it takes Staph aureus to produce dangerous levels of toxins after handling food?
Regarding the spice debate:-
As we all know, salt has been used to prevent meat from spoiling since waaay back.
Spices are/were considered expensive to us due to the fact that they didn't grow on these shores and so had to be shipped over - hence the increased cost.
For areas where the spices are/were plentiful, it's likely that they used the spices as other used salt - not to hide the taste of bad meat, but to preserve it in the first place.
If you look at areas where they use spice marinades / rubs, they don't tend to use a lot of salt....
That sounds quite plausible, it could also have been used for masking bad flavours in hot countries, where spices are often cheap and readily available I guess.