Bacon is delicious and flavorful, and one of the most loved ingredients of today’s age. However, because of its immense popularity, you might be wondering if it is safe to eat raw bacon.
Some people may think it smells good, but it definitely does not smell as good as it does when it is cooked. And it might look okay, but that crisp fat is the real reason we eat bacon anyway, right?
If you have been wondering if you can help yourself to a late-night raw bacon snack but would prefer to do your research before potentially suffering the consequences, you have come to the right place.
What is Bacon?
First off, what is bacon?
Bacon is the delicious result of salt-cured pork. The pork can be from different types of cuts, such as the belly or back, which can give you different levels of flavor.
Since bacon comes from pigs, there are groups of people who will not eat the product, such as those who practice Judaism or Islam. This is because pigs are seen to be unclean and therefore should not be consumed.
There is always the option of Turkey bacon, which is much healthier as it contains less fat, but turkey bacon is not nearly as delicious as the original. If you are looking for a healthier alternative, though, try out turkey bacon.
For those who do eat bacon, though, there is probably nothing better on this earth. You can get thick or thin cut bacon, bacon from different parts of the animal’s body, and even different flavorings of bacon!
Some people love the rich smoky taste of some bacon, while others prefer the milder un-smoked bacon. Some companies do not actively smoke their bacon, though, and instead inject liquid smoke into the meat to give it its rich flavor.
For those who like to try different bacon flavors, there are many to choose from.
From the regular smoked or un-smoked bacon to Maple-cured, Italian, Black Pepper, Honey-inflused, Cajun style and so many more, there are endless possibilities to try.
If you have the resources, you can even smoke your own bacon using different types of wood chippings!
Can You Eat Raw Bacon?
You came here to learn whether you can eat raw bacon or not – the answer is no. You definitely should not eat raw bacon, but some people still do.
There are people who claim that raw bacon is delicious with a sprinkling of salt, but this is not recommended under any circumstances.
Not only does cooked bacon taste so much more delicious than raw bacon (presumably), and smell heavenly, but it is also safe to eat, unlike raw bacon.
If you eat raw bacon, you are exposing your body to harmful bacteria and parasites, which can be extremely dangerous.
Health Risks to Eating Raw Bacon
There are many potential health risks to eating raw bacon. Symptoms can be minor, or they can be severe, and even result in death in some individuals. These health risks include:
Trichinosis (or Trichinellosis)
Trichinosis is a type of food poisoning that you can get from eating raw or undercooked meats, usually pork.
The larvae of a worm known as trichinella spiralis are ingested by whoever eats the uncooked pork, and the acid in the stomach will break down the shells of the larvae eggs, which frees the matured worms inside.
These works will then produce their own larvae, which will take up residence in tissues in the body (often muscle). Anyone who eats raw bacon is susceptible to this type of food poisoning, no matter their health status, age or athleticism.
Causes of Trichinosis: eating meats that are not properly stored; eating undercooked or raw pork products; eating undercooked or raw meat from wild animals (such as walrus, boar, or bear); using kitchen utensils that are not clean when preparing meats
Symptoms may include chills; eye swelling; headaches; abdominal pain; fever; diarrhea; muscle soreness; constipation; in extreme cases it can cause thirst; extreme tiredness; profuse sweating or death.
In severe cases, you may experience difficulty breathing, inflamed heart muscles, and difficulties with coordination. Symptoms can last anywhere from 5 to 45 days and typically begin to be experienced between 10 and 14 days after consuming the product.
It is not uncommon for milk cases of Trichinosis to be confused with other common illnesses such as the flu or common cold. However, Trichinosis has been known to cause death.
Tapeworms are segmented, flatworms that can be found in some animals’ intestines. The animals can become infected with tapeworms when they are doing things like drinking contaminated water or grazing in pastures.
Humans can become infected with these parasites when they consume undercooked or raw meat, often pork. Tapeworm infections are regularly easily treated but can be very problematic in some individuals.
How You Get Tapeworms: These worms have three life stages: eggs, larva, and adult worms (which in turn can produce their own eggs).
A person who is infected with tapeworms could have gotten them from eating raw or undercooked meat from animals that are infected, or even getting them from another infected person.
These worm eggs can be passed from one person to another when someone infected passes tapeworm eggs through bowel movements.
That person will wipe, not wash their hands, and go on to prepare food – this food will then be contaminated and can be passed on to other people.
Symptoms may include weight loss; fatigue; loss of appetite; hunger, vitamin and mineral deficiencies; nausea; diarrhea; abdominal pain, weakness; in extreme cases tapeworms can cause seizures, damage to the eyes, liver, brain, and heart, and even death
Toxoplasmosis is the name given to an infection caused by the parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can be found in undercooked meats such as pork, lamb, and venison, as well as cat feces and contaminated water.
Toxoplasmosis can be extremely dangerous to unborn fetuses if the pregnant parent becomes infected with the parasite.
This can lead to serious birth defects and is the reason why doctors do not recommend a pregnant parent handles litter boxes or eat raw or undercooked meats while pregnant.
How you get Toxoplasmosis: You can get Toxoplasmosis by eating raw or undercooked meat, handing cat feces, or drinking water that is already contaminated with the parasite.
Some people never experience any symptoms while being infected with this parasite.
However, common symptoms include fever; headaches, sore throats; swollen lymph nodes; muscle pain; muscle aches. Serious symptoms can include brain inflammation; lung infections, and eye infections.
How to Tell if Your Bacon is Raw or Undercooked
You can tell is bacon is undercooked when the meat is still glossy and pink. Bacon that is cooked will become darker and turn reddish-brown as the fat begins to melt and become crispy.
You can often tell if bacon is undercooked by looking at the texture of it – although you do not want to eat dry or overcooked bacon, ensure that its texture is becoming more apparent.
The smell of also a dead giveaway – cooked bacon will smell delicious, and it should be fizzling hot.
Best Way to Eat Bacon
There are a number of delicious ways to eat bacon. You can have it on toast with eggs and other breakfast foods, on its own or in a different recipe entirely.
Many recipes are great with added bacon for some extra flavor, so you can try just about anything as long as you cook it properly.
Final Thoughts on Eating Raw Bacon
In case you needed reminding – no, bacon should not be eaten raw. Eating raw bacon can be extremely dangerous and will result in very unpleasant symptoms that will have you confined to a bathroom for some time.
The risk is not worth it, even if people do claim to eat it on a regular basis. To stay safe, make sure that your bacon is thoroughly cooked through, smells delicious, and is a reddish color before even thinking of getting your eating utensils out (and make sure they are properly cleaned, too!).
Never eat raw bacon or any other meat product, especially pork, as it contains a lot of parasites that the cooking process kills off.