Can Bacon Be Eaten Raw? Here’s the Truth

Not sure whether you can eat bacon raw?

Eating raw bacon is risky because you may catch foodborne illnesses, such as toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. Plus, you risk getting infected with dangerous bacteria or parasites such as tapeworms.

Let’s dig deeper into why it is unsafe to eat bacon raw.

Why Is It Unsafe To Eat Bacon Raw?

Raw bacon that cannot be eaten

Here are a few reasons why eating bacon raw is unsafe:

Raw Bacon Is a Cured Meat

It has been cured in salt or other chemicals to extend its shelf life and prevent spoiling. However, this curing process does not kill all bacteria. If bacon is not cooked properly, these bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses.

Raw Bacon Is High in Protein and Fat

Raw bacon is about 70% fat, and almost all of it is saturated fat. It is also rich in protein. While fat and protein are essential nutrients, when consumed in the form of raw bacon, these can be difficult to digest. Digestion issues can lead to nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Much of the fat in bacon renders out when you cook it, and this is how bacon loses some of its weight when cooked.

Raw Bacon May Contain Parasites

While a salt rub or brine is used to cure bacon, this does not always kill all parasites. Consuming these parasites can cause serious illness.

High Risk of Food Poisoning

Because raw bacon slices can contain harmful bacteria, there is a high risk of food poisoning if you don’t cook it properly. Some of the indications of food poisoning include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating raw bacon, seek medical attention immediately.

Man puking into green bucket after eating raw bacon
He just couldn’t resist that raw bacon.

May Cause Muscle Soreness and Other Infections

Eating raw or undercooked bacon may lead to trichinosis, a parasitic infection that can cause muscle soreness, headaches, and fever. If left untreated, trichinosis can be fatal.

You should now understand why eating raw bacon may not be safe. But what about smoked bacon? Would it still be unsafe to eat raw? Let’s find out whether you can eat smoked bacon raw.

Can I Eat Smoked Bacon Raw?

The smoking process imparts the bacon with the flavor of wood. Smoked bacon needs to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to become safe to eat. However, when buying the bacon from a butcher or a grocery store, it may not be smoked to the bacteria-killing temperature. On top of that, it’s possible for bacon to obtain its smoke flavor by spraying it with a liquid smoke extract as opposed to smoking it, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Bacon that hasn’t been smoked to reach the aforementioned internal temperature or only contains the flavor of smoke tends to harbor the same parasites and bacteria that raw bacon contains.

Conclusion

To sum up, you can eat bacon raw, but it’s not advisable. And if you want to eat smoked bacon raw, make sure that it’s smoked long enough and hot enough to eliminate any bacteria that may be harmful.

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