The short answer is yes: raw meat cannot only make you really sick, it can kill you. The reason is the viruses, microorganism and other bacteria that lives on and in the meat.
Some meats, mostly seafood, can be safely eaten raw as long as they are prepared correctly. Meats like beef and chicken, on the other hand, are very dangerous to eat raw. These meats can contain salmonella, worms, E. coli, hepatitis E and much much more. Most, if not all, of these diseases and parasites are killed when the meat is cooked, which is why it’s so important that every part of the meat is cooked through. Here are the solutions to several mistakes most new adulters make when handling raw meat.
Putting Meat on Counters:
Never never EVER put raw meat onto your counters! Putting raw meat on the counters allows the bacteria, viruses and microorganisms to spread across the surface and – if you don’t clean it with some serious chemicals – those germs will be transferred onto anything that touches it including your hands, your clothes and other food items. Always place raw meat on a cutting board or plate because these items can be sterilized in the dishwasher. After you’re done cutting meat, wash your hand with hot water and lots of soap and make sure to wash your cutting boards and knifes (and anything else that touched the raw meat) in the dishwasher. This will prevent your counters from breeding the diseased you’re trying to kill.
It Looks Done Enough:
You want to ensure that the middle of your meat is thoroughly cooked. You can do this by using a fork and knife and cutting into the center of your meat while it’s still on the pan. If you see red juices (aka blood) then it needs to be cooked for a while longer. If you see clear liquid when cutting into it that’s a good thing. It means the meat is cooked. If the center of your meat still looks wet and raw, cook it for a few minutes more. If it’s not cooking, you can always cut your meat in half and put the questionable bits directly on the pan.
It’s Only a Little Raw:
Don’t eat raw meat! Your health and wellbeing are put in danger with raw meat. Whether at home or at a restaurant, if you take a bite and find yourself tasting something raw the best course of action is to NOT swallow it. Spit it out and either cook it for a little longer or politely ask the waiter to fix it. Your health is more important than being polite and eating the raw meat.
Rinsing Will Clean It:
Anything that touched raw meat needs to be scrubbed with hot water and soap. Don’t just rinse! Rinsing may get the majority of the liquids and germs off, but what remains will be alive and it will thrive. Soap and hot water works because soap attaches to particles and is washed away by the water. The hot water helps kill the grossness while the soap sterilizes. It’s also important to use the right kind of soap – in this case dish soap or dishwasher detergent if you’re putting it in the dishwasher. You can learn more about soaps here.
Raw Meat Packaging:
The plastic and Styrofoam containers (or the bags) that hold raw meat are just as contaminated as the meat itself. NEVER reuse the packages! Just toss them in the trash and make sure to take the trash out within 24 hours. Those juices can begin to breed and be as dangerous as raw meat if exposed to the air for too long.
Want to know more? Check out Time Magazine’s article here for more information.
Did anything surprise you? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments below and add any questions you might have to inspire my next post.