As a meat lover, you must have been asked if humans can eat raw meat? There are many cuisines in the world that feature eating raw meat. While this is a common practice, is it safe?
Eating raw meat is dangerous, as it can harbor illness-causing bacteria. These include Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Animals can eat raw meat because they have stronger stomach acid. These acids help in digesting their food and killing parasites and different bacteria. But humans on the other hand do not have the same strong stomach acid as animals.
Well, in this article, I will be answering the question, “can humans eat raw meat?” and the side effects associated with it.
Can humans eat raw meat?
Eating raw meat may be a regular practice around the world, but that does not make it safe for you. Eating raw meat causes a range of health problems.
Some common cuisines that feature raw meats include;
- Steak tartare: This is minced raw beef steak mixed with egg yolk, onions, and spices
- Tuna tartare: Tuna tartare is chopped uncooked tuna mixed with herbs and spices
- Carpaccio: This is a dish from Italy made of thinly sliced raw beef or fish
- Pittsburgh rare steak: This is a steak that is seared on the outside and left raw inside. They are also called “black and blue steak”
- Mett: Mett is a German dish of uncooked minced pork that’s flavored with salt, pepper, and garlic or caraway
- Some types of sushi: Sushi is a Japanese cuisine consisting of rolls which contain cooked rice and most times raw fish
- Ceviche: It is minced raw meat that is cured with citrus juice and other seasonings
- Torisashi: a Japanese dish of thin chicken strips briefly cooked on the outside and raw on the inside.
Often, raw meat dishes will have a small disclaimer on the menu that reads, “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.”
This warns that there are risks associated with raw meat intake and that it may not be safe.
What are the side effects of eating raw meat?
1. Risk of food poisoning
Every living animal is host to a microscopic ecosystem of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Most of these microorganisms are killed during the cooking process. But when left uncooked, it becomes fertile ground for these germs within hours of death.
Foodborne illness, or food poisoning, occurs when you eat meat that is still alive with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other pathogens. According to CDC, food poisoning kills roughly half a million people around the world each year.
2. Risk of trichinosis
Trichinosis is a type of roundworm or parasite that can thrive in most warm-blooded animals. Including cows, pigs, boars, bears, horses, and dogs.
When a person eats undercooked or uncooked meat that is cut from an infected animal. Roundworm larvae survive and they cling onto the inside of the small intestine.
Once mature, these roundworms spawn new larvae which infiltrate cells and tissues, including muscle in the body. Trichinosis induces diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, headache, and swelling of the eyelids and face.
3. Risk of Escherichia coli
E. Coli is a bacteria that inhabit the intestines of healthy animals, including humans. While most strains of E. coli cause no harm, variants that are commonly present in cattle, such as E. coli O157:H7, produce toxins that can cause severe illness.
When cattle are slaughtered and processed, meat can be exposed to the bacteria by coming into contact with the animal’s own intestines.
In humans, E. coli O157:H7 causes bloody diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, etc. Infected humans can further spread the germs by not washing, or inadequately washing, their hands after using the bathroom.
Diarrheal infection from E. coli can also cause Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). This is a severe and sometimes fatal disease affecting the blood and kidneys.
Why can animals eat raw meat?
Animals can eat raw meat because they have a stronger stomach acid that helps digest their food. This acid is much stronger in killing parasites and different bacteria.
Another reason is that the immune system of animals evolves differently from ours. This enables them to tolerate harmful bacteria and parasites better than humans can.
SEE: Top Red Meat Animals
Can you eat raw chicken?
You should avoid eating uncooked chicken and pork. These meats are easily contaminated and can contain large amounts of salmonella bacteria.
Can you feed dogs raw meat?
Yes, you can. Dogs love raw meat, and they are capable of digesting it quickly.
Is cooked meat healthier than raw meat?
Yes, cooked meat is healthier than raw meat. You can eat them without fear of illnesses, except when consumed in excess.
Does freezing raw meat kill the bacteria?
Yes, it does. But not all of them, cooking is the best way of killing bacteria in meat.
Conclusion: Can humans eat raw meat?
Although raw meat dishes are regular on restaurant menus around the world, this does not mean they are safe. The significant risk associated with eating raw meat is developing a foodborne illness caused by contamination from harmful pathogens.
It is essential to cook meats to a proper internal temperature. Children, pregnant or nursing women, and older adults, should avoid consuming raw meat altogether.
I hope you enjoyed this article, you should also see what happens if you eat raw dough.
Thank you for reading this article.