With the growing popularity of sushi and rare meats, raw food is getting a lot more attention than ever before. The question is, can eating raw food be harmful?
Meat is usually cooked all the way through, which kills many of the bacteria that can make you sick, like E. coli or salmonella. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that all raw meats, poultry, and seafood are cooked to the appropriate temperature.
Some people, known as raw foodists, have started eating raw food because of its reported health benefits. Eighty percent of a raw foodist’s diet consists of fruits and vegetables. Raw foodists choose this lifestyle choice because some foods have a greater nutritional value before they are cooked. Raw foods also tend to be less processed, meaning that they generally have a greater health value.
A study done by researchers at the University of Nottingham in England found that eating steak rare is no less safe than eating steak well-done. After preparing steaks containing E. coli, both the rare steak and the well-done steak were found to have no traces of the bacteria. Researchers found that the actual danger of bacteria is in the preparation of the meat and cross-contamination through different cooking utensils, not in its cooking time. While the amount of time a steak is cooked does not really matter, it is important to thoroughly cook other meats like ground beef and sausage.
More and more people are eating sushi containing raw fish, which can carry many different types of bacteria and parasites. To reduce these possibilities, make sure you are eating only fresh fish and know where it came from. This can give you an idea of what possible bacteria it may contain.
Raw foods are becoming a regular part of our diet, so it is important to know the dangers of eating them. There will always be risks to eating raw meats and proteins, but by handling these foods carefully you can minimize your risk of illness.
By Fiona O’Connor