It is not safe to eat raw lamb. Eating raw lamb has been associated with a number of long-term illnesses, which include salmonella typhimurium, stroke, and prostate cancer.
The US Department of Agriculture emphasizes further that all meat be cooked to a safe degree before eating. This is because illnesses gotten from eating undercooked or raw meat range up to a million cases per annum.
In this article, I will talk about lamb meat, the risk asserted to eating it raw or medium rare, and tips on how to cook lamb to perfection.
What is lamb meat?
Lamb meat is the meat gotten from a domestic sheep, typically around a year of age. It is a popular staple in the United States, Europe, and the Middle Eastern region.
The most common cuts of lamb include rack of lamb, shoulder, shank, loin, and leg. Some of the best ways to prepare these cuts include; grilling, roasting, and braising.
Nutritional information on lamb meat
According to the US Department of Agriculture, 4 ounce (100 grams) serving of lamb contains;
- Protein: 25.6g
- Calories: 258
- Fat: 16.5g
- Water: 57%
- Sodium: 72mg
- Potassium: 310mg
It also contains saturated fat, iron, calcium, niacin, selenium, cobalamin, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
Is it safe to eat the lamb raw?
It is not safe. Although eating raw meat is wild spread, it doesn’t make it safe because there are certain health risks it poses.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, all lamb should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and no less. That means a medium rare or higher level of doneness.
But if the lamb is ground or minced, then the recommended is 165 degrees Fahrenheit and no less. This is because the grinding process enables bacteria to spread throughout the entire meat and requires more cooking time before they die.
Some of the effects of eating undercooked or raw lamb include;
Salmonellosis is a type of salmonella infection that occurs when the lamb is not properly cooked. Hence, exposing you to bacteria that may cause fever, watery diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
Furthermore, salmonellosis can also affect the joints, bones, and blood cells in the body.
Listeriosis, also known as listeria monocytogenes, is a bacterium infection gotten from undercooked lamb and poultry meat. Symptoms usually appear 24 hours after intake or exposure.
The symptoms of listeriosis infection include; fever, body pain, watery diarrhea, and nausea, pregnant women and infants are especially prone to this infection.
3. E. Coil (escherichia coli)
Escherichia coli is a strain of bacteria that is usually found in the intestine of animals. Although the majority of this strain of infection is nonpathogenic, some strains are lethal and can cause severe food poisoning.
When you eat raw or undercooked lamb, you are exposed to this bacterium infection. It can lead to a health condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which may further become lethal, leading to kidney failure.
Campylobacteriosis is another infection found in the digestive tract of animals. It occurs when you eat meat that is not properly cooked, and its symptoms occur 48 hours after ingestion.
This particular infection spreads to the blood, joints, and other key parts of the body, and ultimately attacks and weakens your immune system.
Tips for handling raw lamb
Aside from getting infected from eating undercooked or raw lamb, you may also be exposed to cross-contamination.
Below are some tips for handling raw meat in other to reduce the chances of contacting these harmful bacterium infection;
1. Store meat in the refrigerator
If you don’t plan on cooking the meat immediately, it would be best to store it in the refrigerator. Never leave your raw lamb sitting in the kitchen at room temperature; this may prompt the growth of bacteria around the meat.
Ensure you store it in the bottom section of the fridge instead of the top. Storing at the top may cause cross-contamination as the juice from the meat may spill onto other food.
2. Maintain proper hygiene
After handling raw lamb, always remember to wash your hands with soap under running water. Also, make sure you clean every surface and utensil the meat must have come in contact with.
3. Always ensure you cook the meat to a safe cooking temperature
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that all lamb be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, all harmful bacteria in the meat would have been eradicated.
Can you eat medium rare lamb?
Yes, you can. Lamb that has been cooked to rare, medium doneness, which is 145 degrees Fahrenheit is safe. Although, it is best to err on the safe side and go for a well-doneness level of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the CDC recommends that the following people should abstain from eating rare or medium rare lamb;
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
- Elderly or aged citizens
- People with a low or weak immune system.
Can you eat lamb meat that is pink on the inside?
As long as it is cooked to a safe eating temperature, it is fine.
Can you thaw frozen lamb on the shelf?
No, you can’t. The juice may spill on other surfaces, it would be best to defrost in the refrigerator before you start cooking.
What should you do if you suspect you have food poisoning?
There’s no need to worry; usually, the symptoms usually disappear after five days. But if they persist or seem severe, then it would be best if you see the doctor immediately.
Can you eat raw lamb that has been minced?
No, you can’t. Grinding spreads bacteria all over the meat, it is best to go for well-done minced lamb.
Can you eat other meat raw?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, all raw or undercooked meat is considered unsafe. This is because it contains harmful bacteria that can affect your health.
Conclusion: Can you eat raw lamb?
It is not considered safe as it may leave you exposed to many lethal health conditions. It would be best for you to go for medium rare or well-done lamb. You should also follow the tips for handling raw lamb mentioned in this article to avoid cross-contamination.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see if you can eat raw onions.
Thank you for reading this article.