Can raw beef make you sick? (Possible symptoms)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can raw beef make you sick,” and discuss how long after eating raw beef can get sick, and what are the symptoms associated with eating raw beef.

Can raw beef make you sick?

Yes, raw beef can make you sick. Raw beef presents a significant vulnerability to contamination from harmful pathogens, posing a potential threat to food safety. This susceptibility establishes it as a possible origin of health concerns.

Among the pathogens most frequently linked to raw beef, notable ones include Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes. These microorganisms can lead to foodborne illnesses if not properly addressed. (1)

What are the potential risks of eating raw beef?

The main risk of eating raw beef is foodborne illness. Among the primary bacteria responsible for causing foodborne illnesses, species like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 are well-known for their propensity to inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of farm animals.

This, in turn, sets the stage for the contamination of meat from both cattle and poultry during the slaughter process. As the meat progresses through subsequent processing stages, these bacteria-laden products have the potential to taint the processing equipment.

Consequently, this processing equipment evolves into a persistent source of contamination for the meat items that follow. The implications for human health are significant if individuals knowingly or unknowingly consume raw or undercooked meat.

Instances of outbreaks connected to human salmonellosis, stemming from the consumption of raw beef, have been documented in the past. (2)

How raw beef can get contaminated?

Meat is susceptible to contamination at multiple points in its journey, spanning hide removal, evisceration, processing, packaging, storage, and distribution. These vulnerabilities exist both within slaughterhouses and at retail outlets.

The microorganisms that infiltrate the meat play a dual role: hastening spoilage and presenting a notable threat of transmitting foodborne illnesses to those who consume it. (3)

How to avoid foodborne illnesses?

The general recommendation is to cook all meat until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius). This will kill any bacteria that may be present in the meat. During cooking, a small amount of moisture is lost from the meat, but this can be added back after cooking by adding broth or water.

To prevent contamination, uphold hygiene by assigning a dedicated cutting board or plate solely for the handling of raw meat. Use a separate one for items like produce and bread that won’t be subjected to cooking. Following the handling of each meat item, ensure to thoroughly clean your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops using hot, soapy water. (4)

Is raw beef healthier?

No, the impact of roasting and grilling on the final vitamin content of meat products is minimal when compared to raw meat. Conversely, the fried product displayed a decrease of approximately 32% in cobalamin ( a type of B12) content in comparison to raw meat.

The levels of vitamin E in both raw and cooked beef remained relatively steady. Cooking resulted in a reduction of vitamin E, ranging from 33% to 44% of the initial content in the meat. Similarly, for vitamin D, cooking led to a loss of 35% to 42% of the original content.

While beef’s vitamin E and D content is relatively modest and of limited nutritional significance, it’s important to highlight that beef remains a noteworthy dietary source of vitamin B12. (5)

What are the symptoms of eating contaminated raw beef?

Consuming contaminated raw beef can lead to illness, marked by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These reactions arise from the consumption of food that has been compromised either by chemical substances or by microorganisms and the toxins they generate. (6)

What are the health benefits of beef consumption?

Red meat stands out as a notable source of heme iron when compared to poultry and fish. It also holds a unique position as the primary dietary contributor of vitamin B12, providing over two-thirds of the recommended daily intake in just a 100 g serving.

Incorporating red meat into your diet, whether cooked or raw, plays a significant role in supplying essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for maintaining good health.

A diet rich in protein, like lean red meat, and low in carbohydrates while managing energy intake can facilitate more effective weight loss and weight maintenance compared to a diet with a similar energy content but with lower protein content.

This outcome is attributed to the satisfying nature of the protein, which contributes to a feeling of fullness, and its positive influence on the development of lean muscle mass in humans.

Moreover, slight increases in protein intake from red meat have been shown to lower blood pressure without simultaneously raising blood lipid levels. (7)

Other FAQs about Beef that you may be interested in.

Can beef be baked?

Can beef be aged at home?

Can beef barley soup cause diarrhea?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “Can raw beef make you sick,” and discussed other questions related to the subject, such as how long after eating raw beef can I get sick, and what are the symptoms associated with eating raw beef.



PARK, Sangeun; PARK, Eunyoung; YOON, Yohan. Comparison of nonthermal decontamination methods to improve the safety for raw beef consumption. Journal of Food Protection, v. 85, n. 4, p. 664-670, 2022.


GEBEYEHU, Daniel Teshome; ALEMU, Biruk; BELETE, Gemechu. The habit, choice, intention, and perception of raw beef consumers on raw beef-eating: the health risk management perspective. BMC nutrition, v. 8, n. 1, p. 1-12, 2022.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Foods That Can Cause Food Poisoning 2023.


BENNINK, M. R.; ONO, K. Vitamin B12, E and D content of raw and cooked beef. Journal of Food Science, v. 47, n. 6, p. 1786-1792, 1982.


Hennekinne, J.-A., Herbin, S., Firmesse, O., & Auvray, F. European Food Poisoning Outbreaks Involving Meat and Meat-based Products. Procedia Food Science, 5, 93–96. 2015.


MCAFEE, Alison J. et al. Red meat consumption: An overview of the risks and benefits. Meat science, v. 84, n. 1, p. 1-13, 2010.