is it bad to eat raw beef

Yes, it is dangerous to eat raw or undercooked ground beef because it can contain harmful bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends not eating or tasting raw or undercooked ground beef. To be sure all bacteria are destroyed, cook meat loaf, meatballs, casseroles, and hamburgers to 160 °F.

Health authorities recommend cooking beef to kill any harmful bacteria that can cause severe illness or even death.

However, some people claim that it’s completely safe, more delicious, and more beneficial to health to eat raw or uncooked beef rather than its cooked counterpart.

This article explains whether it’s safe to eat raw beef and examines if doing so offers health benefits beyond those associated with eating cooked beef.

While some restaurants may offer these dishes, there is no guarantee that they are safe to eat.

Consuming raw beef is dangerous, as it can harbor illness-causing bacteria, including Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus, all of which are otherwise destroyed with heat during the cooking process (2, 3, 4).

Symptoms like upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, which can range from mild to severe, can occur within 30 minutes to 1 week after consuming contaminated raw beef (5).

Steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and allowed to sit for 3 minutes before cutting or consuming, while ground beef should be cooked to at least 160°F (71°C) (6).

Cooking a steak to a minimum internal temperature of 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare, or 125°F (52°C) for rare, still increases your risk of foodborne illness but to a much lesser degree than consuming it raw.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that populations susceptible to developing foodborne illnesses completely avoid raw or undercooked beef (7).

Proponents of eating raw beef claim that its nutrients are more readily available to your body for digestion and absorption.

Research comparing nutrient absorption from raw and cooked beef is scarce, as it would be unethical to provide humans with raw beef knowing its risk of serious illness or death.

One older study noted that the activity of glutathione peroxidase — a major antioxidant in the body — was significantly lower in mice with selenium deficiency.

These mice were fed either raw or cooked ground beef for 8 weeks to restore selenium levels, which increased the antioxidant activity of glutathione.

It was found that selenium repletion from raw beef increased glutathione peroxidase by 127%, compared with 139% in mice provided the cooked ground beef (9).

Proponents of raw beef consumption also claim that the process of cooking beef decreases its nutrient content.

One study assessing the vitamin B12 content of raw and grilled or broiled beef found no significant differences between them, except for when the beef was fried, which decreased the vitamin B12 content by 32%, compared with raw beef (10).

Similarly, an older study found no significant difference in the folate contents of raw and grilled beef. Beef contains low amounts of this vitamin (11).

Finally, beef’s protein content tends to be less digestible when the meat is cooked at a high temperature for a long time, compared with when it’s cooked at a lower temperature for a short time.

One human study found that the protein in beef was moderately less digestible when it was cooked at 194°F (90°C) for 30 minutes compared with 131°F (55°C) for 5 minutes (12).

Raw foods of animal origin, such as beef, are the most likely to be contaminated with illness-causing bacteria.

The claim that eating raw beef is healthier than cooked beef in terms of its nutrient availability and content is not supported by current research.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Can I Eat Raw Beef?

You go to your favorite steakhouse and order your steak rare. It comes out looking more like raw steak than cooked. Is it safe to eat? Or, maybe you just prefer the flavor of raw beef over cooked beef (believe it or not, some do!). Is there any harm in chowing down?

There are some steak dishes that are meant to be served raw. Steak tartare, for example, is a raw ground beef patty served with raw egg yolk, onions, and other various ingredients. The thing is, no expert would ever recommend that you make steak tartare at home – unless, of course, you’re an expert chef and know how to do it correctly!

Raw beef can definitely be harmful if it’s not quality beef. Creating a steak tartare from ground beef you pick up at the grocery store is a big, giant no-no. That beef could contain various unknown parts of a whole herd of cows and, if consumed raw, could put harmful bacteria into your gut.

If you order a raw steak from the steakhouse, some may say, “No way!” while others will be glad to do it. The difference? Steakhouses that accept your raw steak order likely use high-quality beef and know exactly where it’s sourced from. They also have highly-trained professional chefs who know how to handle the meat properly, so it doesn’t get contaminated.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Proponents of raw beef consumption also claim that the process of cooking beef decreases its nutrient content.

Research comparing nutrient absorption from raw and cooked beef is scarce, as it would be unethical to provide humans with raw beef knowing its risk of serious illness or death.

The claim that eating raw beef is healthier than cooked beef in terms of its nutrient availability and content is not supported by current research.

These mice were fed either raw or cooked ground beef for 8 weeks to restore selenium levels, which increased the antioxidant activity of glutathione.

Eating Raw Beef Safely

Just like raw chicken and pork, raw beef can be problematic and contains its fair share of dangerous bacteria. It’s safer than eating raw chicken or pork, but that doesn’t make it 100% safe. Just a few of the infections or viruses eating raw steak could cause include listeriosis, salmonellosis, and E. Coli poisoning. Cooking beef to a minimum internal temperature of 145-degrees and letting it rest for a few minutes is the only way to ensure that most of the unsafe bacteria that may be lingering on it could be killed.

Eating raw meat doesn’t have to be a no-go, though, if you’re dead-set on doing it. The most important thing you can do is source your beef carefully. Order meat online from a trusted source or head to your local butcher who knows where every slab of his beef comes from. It’s also a good idea to purchase whole slabs of beef and cut it yourself (or watch the butcher do it) to ensure that the meat is coming from the same animal.

Once you take your raw steak home, be sure to put it right in the freezer or fridge if you’re not going to eat it immediately. Store your steak covered, away from other foods and out of the way of anything that could drip on it. Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40-degrees Fahrenheit or below to keep it nice and cold!

Yes, it is dangerous to eat raw or undercooked ground beef because it can contain harmful bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends not eating or tasting raw or undercooked ground beef. To be sure all bacteria are destroyed, cook meat loaf, meatballs, casseroles, and hamburgers to 160 °F.

FAQ

Is it okay to eat rare steak?

No. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends not eating or tasting raw or undercooked meat. Meat may contain harmful bacteria. Thorough cooking is important to kill any bacteria and viruses that may be present in the food.

Why do people eat raw meat?

According to some users on the r/rawmeat subreddit, eating uncooked meat supposedly gives them more energy and better digestion. But many food safety experts say that consuming raw meat poses a serious health risk.

What to do if you ate raw ground beef?

What to Do. Wipe or rinse out the mouth. Give a serving size of water to drink. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water and soap.

Can you eat beef pink?

To be sure all harmful bacteria are destroyed, cook all ground beef products to an internal temperature of 160 °F throughout. Ground beef can be pink inside after it is safely cooked. The pink color can be due to a reaction between the oven heat and myoglobin, which causes a red or pink color.

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