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Can Eating Rare Steak Hurt Your Stomach?

While many steak lovers enjoy the tender taste and juiciness of rare steaks, there is no way to guarantee that it is ever safe to eat.

Eating rare steak can lead to the ingestion of bacteria and parasites present in contaminated food, causing stomach pains and other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. There is always a safe way to prepare steaks but it all starts with purchasing quality meat. This article discusses the dangers of eating rare steak, the rules about rare steak, and the difference between rare and medium-rare doneness.

Dangers of Eating Rare Steak

  • Foodborne Illnesses
a piece of rare steak

Eating rare meat heightens your risk of getting foodborne illnesses such as listeria, E. coli, and salmonella. E. coli is majorly found in undercooked ground beef and can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Salmonella is found in raw or undercooked poultry and causes similar side effects to E. coli. Listeria is commonly found in ready-to-eat meats including seafood and poultry. Besides diarrhea and nausea, other common symptoms of listeria include fever and muscle aches. Searing the outside of meat helps to kill off the pathogens making it safe to eat.

  • Meat Allergy

Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to the food proteins we eat. Although people can be allergic to different kinds of meat such as pork, beef, poultry, lamb, or game, it is less common compared to other types of food allergies. However, eating rare or undercooked meat could be one of the reasons behind meat allergy. Studies show that many of the proteins present in beef that can trigger an allergy are less likely to take effect when the meat is properly cooked. It reduces the level of meat allergies by making it safe for your body to digest.

  • Parasitic Infections

Another danger of eating raw or undercooked steaks is that it can lead to parasitic infections such as trichinosis. The larvae of a roundworm parasite called trichinella causes trichinosis. Animals get infected by parasites when they feed on other infected animals. You can get parasitic infections from eating undercooked steaks from pork or wild-animal meat. It can also be present in meat that is contaminated by grinders or mixed with different types of meat before they are ground. Common symptoms of parasitic infections include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe fatigue.

Rules of Eating Rare Steak

Rare meat is never safe to eat if it is ground because the grinding process introduces harmful bacteria on the meat surface. Ground meat needs to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and have medium doneness. Ground poultry such as chicken or turkey should reach an internal temperature of about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium-rare doneness can be considered safe if the fresh meat is a chop, roast, or steak. This means that the meat needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

After cooking, you need to let the steak rest for at least three or more minutes before consuming it. The steak needs to be of high quality and a team of professional chefs prepares it. Even though steak lovers love the tenderness and moist nature of rare steaks, there is no way to guarantee that it is safe if no proper preparation procedure is done. This means that eating raw meat delights such as beef carpaccio or steak tartare are not considered safe, especially for those with a higher risk of food poisoning.

The Difference between Rare and Medium-Rare Steak

People hardly order rare steaks as it is meant for the true ‘carnivores’ who prefer eating something that is cooked as little as possible, nearly raw. It is lightly charred on the exterior but warm through the center. It can also be identified with its browned sides and bright red color in the middle. Many people in this category prefer medium-rare steaks, which have a rich brown color with a thick band of light pink at the center. The top and bottom are darkly charred but not black and while it has some play through the middle, it still feels firm to the touch. Medium-rare is exposed to a little more heat than rare done steak.

Many people avoid eating rare steak because of the potential dangers it poses to their health. It is more prone to food-borne illnesses, meat allergies, and parasitic infections. It is important to cook your steak to the recommended level of doneness so that it can be safe to eat. Besides cooking it to the right temperature, ensure you get quality steaks and have them prepared with food hygiene in mind.

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