Raw meat safe eating
Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria including Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and E. coli that can cause food poisoning. These bacteria are destroyed when meat is correctly cooked.
Eating raw meat in certain dishes is an important part of many people’s diet, including such dishes as kibbe, carpaccio and raw liver.
Traditional ways of preparing these foods reduce the risk.
Minimise the danger
Eating raw meat is not generally recommended. It should not be eaten by people with low or compromised immune systems, children younger then 5 years, people over 70 years of age with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women.
Eat raw meat only if you know it is fresh
Traditional food preparation methods recognise the potential danger of consuming raw meat, and traditional preparation and handling methods reduce the chances of foodborne illness.
For instance, in Lebanon cooks select a lamb and have it slaughtered so they know the meat is fresh. They then immediately take it home and make kibbe, rather than buying it from a store or restaurant.
When eating raw kibbe, or other raw meat dishes, it is extremely important to ensure the meat is very fresh.
The best advice is to follow the traditional way of preparing and consuming raw meat:
- make sure raw meat is very fresh
- only buy raw meat from a reputable butcher who understands this is how the meat will be consumed
- prepare and consume as soon as possible after slaughter.
Control the temperature
The bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning grow rapidly when the meat is unrefrigerated. It is important to keep raw meat refrigerated (below 5oC) until you are ready to prepare and serve.
To keep raw meat safe:
- once you have purchased raw meat from your butcher it is important that you refrigerate it as soon as possible
- don't leave your shopping in a hot car. It's a good idea to place your raw meats into an insulated cooler or esky with an ice-pack for the trip home
- when you arrive home, immediately put your raw meat in the fridge. Don’t leave it on the bench top at room temperature.
Keep raw meat & poultry sparate from ready-to-eat foods
It’s also very important to keep raw meat away from other ready-to-eat foods that will not be cooked.
This reduces the chance of cross-contamination, which can happen when handling any type of raw meat.
- wash your hands in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly before preparing food and after touching raw meat and chicken
- make sure juices from raw meat do not come into contact with other foods
- thoroughly clean all utensils, equipment and surfaces after preparing raw meat and poultry before contact with other foods
- if possible use a separate cutting board and knife specifically for raw meat
- store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge so it can’t drip onto other foods.