Can you eat raw meat?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “Can you eat raw meat?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can you eat raw meat? 

Yes, you can eat raw meat but you are putting yourself at risk of food poisoning because raw meats are usually contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E.coli. This risk might be reduced if you bought your raw meat from a very-well known butchery where meat is well-stored and handled.

Generally, adults are the ones who are recommended to eat raw meat whether beef, salmon, sushi, or any other type because some age groups include children under five, the elderly and people over 70 years, pregnant, breastfeeding women, and those with low immunity should avoid raw meat.

The reason behind that is the low immunity, poisoning, in this case, is life-threatening and the person might require hospitalization. For pregnant women, food poisoning along with being harmful to them, bacteria will affect the fetus’s growth and development but that depends on the type of the bacteria.

The symptoms of food poisoning are the same and range from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and headache to bloody stools, high fever, weakness, and dizziness. But in some cases and depending on the bacteria, symptoms might take hours, days, or weeks to develop.

To ensure the quality of your raw meat you should prepare it and consume it as soon as possible which means within a few hours to prevent more bacteria and pathogens from developing inside it, especially if not well-stored in the fridge at the right temperature.

Avoid keeping your raw meat outside the fridge at room temperature for more than two hours because bacteria are more likely to proliferate at warm temperatures. Also, make sure that the refrigerator temperature is under five because under this temperature the majority of bacteria can not proliferate.

If possible when transporting the raw meat from the supermarket or the butchery to the home use an ice box or an insulated cooler especially if you want to eat the meat raw if not cooking and high temperatures can kill bacteria which makes cooked meat safe for all people.

For food safety matters and to prevent cross-contamination, you should store the raw meat on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator to avoid any juices from leaking and dripping to other cooked and prepared food, thus contaminating them with bacteria. 

Use clean utensils to prepare the raw food and if possible keep a cutting board for raw and one for cooked food. Also, this is a way to prevent cross-contamination that will lead to foodborne illnesses. Because cooked meats are somehow free of hazards when well-cooked. 

How to eat raw meat safely?

The first thing to do if you want to eat raw meat safely is to buy your meat from a known butchery where the quality and the safety of the meat are ensured. Also, do not buy ground meat. Instead, buy a beef steak and ground it at home by yourself. This is applicable to fish also.

The steak has a small contact surface compared to ground meat so its chance of being contaminated is less than ground meat. Also, you can not ensure the quality of the ground meat because the meat used is more likely to be coming from different cows. 

When the meat is ground, it will be more exposed to the air which increases the chance of bacteria, especially aerobic pathogens from proliferating inside it. When you arrive home, put your raw steak directly on the bottom shelf in the fridge to avoid bacterial proliferation at warm temperatures. 

So, beef meat, lamb meat, fish, and some seafood can be consumed raw like salmon and oysters but chicken or pork absolutely can not be consumed raw due to its contamination with salmonella. However, when well cooked the chicken and the pork will be safe for consumption.

What are the risks of eating raw meat?

As mentioned earlier, foodborne illnesses are the major risks of eating raw meat because they are contaminated with different types of bacteria. Also, the types of bacteria depend in some cases on the type of meat. 

For example, raw chicken meat is more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella whereas beef meat is contaminated with Listeria. In severe cases, food poisoning can be life-threatening and lead to death. Many people worldwide die from food poisoning.

One of the major concerns in raw meat is the Trichinella spiralis that causes trichinosis. It is a roundworm or parasite that affects the majority of warm-blooded animals. This parasite lives in the small intestine of the infected animal and can infiltrate other cells and muscles.

When contaminated meat is consumed raw by humans it will lead to trichinosis which causes some symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, muscle pain, and swelling of the face.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “ can you eat raw meat?” and other queries related to this topic.


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