Can you eat medium-rare pork?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat medium-rare pork?”. We will also elaborate on the conditions of pork at which it is safe to consume, what are the nutritional components of rare pork, and what are the signs and symptoms of its contamination.

Can you eat medium-rare pork?

Yes, you can eat medium-rare pork. Pork that is brown from inside should be consumed but the piece of pork which is red internally should be avoided to eat because it consists of a large number of disease-causing agents such as bacteria, parasites that can cause disease in the human body. Twenty-seven biological hazards may be transmitted from pork to consumers. Among them, Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella enterica, thermophilic Campylobacter spp., and Listeria monocytogenes are characterized by the highest risk scores (1).

Medium-rare pork

Pork is the meat of a pig that is domestically found in the environment. The red meat of pork is being eaten normally in some countries but it is also prohibited in some of the countries such as in Eastern Asia.

Pork is one of the most widely consumed types of meat, and the OECD predicted that global pork meat consumption in 2025 will be 12.54 kg carcass weight equivalent/capita/year. Pork is nutritious and contains high-quality protein and various bioactive compounds. Regular supplementation of small amounts of pork improves body growth, physical activity, cognitive function, and immunity (2).

The consumption of pork is restricted in Islam and also it is forbidden in Judaism. That is the reason, it is also considered illegal in many countries. 

How medium-rare pork could be consumed?

Medium rare pork could be consumed in different ways such as it can be presented as bacon, smoked pork, sausages, and ham. 

The nutritional component of medium-rare pork

Medium rare pork is a meat which is a high protein food and it also contains a good content of fat. The nutritional profile of pork meat depends on the thickness and the cooking process as well as the cooking point of the meat. The cooking reduces the moisture content and increases the protein and fat content (2).

A 100 grams (3.5 ounces) serving of medium-rare pork provides

  • Calories: 297
  • Water content: 53 per cent
  • Protein consistency: 25.7 grams
  • Fiber content: 0 gram
  • Carbs consistency: 0 gram
  • Fat content is almost 20.8 grams
  • The sugar level is up to 0 gram

The protein of medium-rare pork

The major significant part of medium-rare pork is the protein consistency. Almost the consistency of protein in the lean or cooked part of the pork is 26 per cent. 26 per cent is considered as a fresh weight while the protein content of lean pork is 89 per cent in dried form. 

The medium-rare pork is enriched with a heavy dietary consistency of protein. A protein of pork also consists of amino acids which are nine in number, that are required for the growth of the body and also have a role in body maintenance.

Meat proteins have been distinguished by their essential amino acids content. Amino acids are proteins’ building blocks. There are one hundred and ninety amino acids known although only twenty are necessary to synthesize proteins. Within this twenty, eight cannot be produced by the human body which makes them essential, thus they have to be supplied by diet. Differently from any other vegetarian source, meat has all the essential amino acids. In addition, meat protein is highly digestible (3).

Due to the high consistency of protein level in medium-rare pork, it is more beneficial for those people who are trying to build their body like a bodybuilder, as well as for athletes who want to be recovered; it is also recommended for those who have undergone their surgery treatment, and it is also the prerequisite to repair muscles in the body.

The fat content of medium-rare pork

The fat content of medium-rare pork varies. The consistency of fat in medium-rare pork is almost 10 to 16 per cent but this level of fat can be enhanced depending on various other factors and trimming of pork meat.

The red meat of pork contains both saturated and unsaturated fat content almost in equal ratio. It is also said that the concentration of the fatty acid is highly different from other types of meat such as beef and lamb.

Conjugated linoleic acid is low in consistency as compared to unsaturated fat which is more in ratio.

Meat is an important arachidonic acid source, an omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid which increases the risk of thrombosis. Arachidonic acid is the precursor of thromboxane A2 which begins plaque aggregation, the primary phenomena in thrombosis development. Therefore, it is relevant to consider meat consumption and disease risk (3).

Vitamins and mineral ratio in medium-rare pork

Pork is also a good source of many other minerals and vitamin ratios. These minerals and vitamins include:

Thiamine 

Pork also consists of good content of thiamine, which plays a significant role in various body functions.

Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 is one of those pigments or nutritional pigments which is necessary for the various significant body functions such as regulatory brain functioning and formation of blood. This pigment is one of the most prevalent nutrient components in all those food products which originate from animals. Red meat provides practically two thirds of the daily requirement of vitamin B12 in 100 g serving (3).

Niacin

Niacin is the B3 vitamin. Vitamin B plays a major role in the body which is significant for metabolism and growth. Red meat provides around 25% of the recommended dietary intakes for riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid per 100 g (3).

However, some studies have shown that cooking in general produces significant losses of B vitamins. Several data suggest that B12 and thiamin are among the most affected B vitamins in comparison with riboflavin and niacin which show lower decreases (3). 

Selenium

Pork is also rich in selenium consistency. Meat is one of the best sources for  selenium, which is an essential trace element inhuman nutrition being the component of selenoproteins which have antioxidant functions in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention (3).

The best source of these minerals is food products such as eggs, seafood, dairy products, and meat.

Pork is an abundant source of minerals, which can change during cooking. Cooking is essential to make meat palatable and safe. However, heat treatment can decrease the nutritional value, mainly due to loss of minerals and vitamins. Potassium (K) and zinc (Zn) are major two minerals in pork meat. Also, iron (Fe) plays essential minerals to humans because its deficiency causes several hindrances, particularly disturbs normal development of children. K helps the human body to maintain the acid-base balance, metabolism, and muscle building, and Zn is required for the immune system, helping in cell growth and wound healing, as part of many enzymes (2).

Signs and symptoms of consuming contaminated pork

The symptoms that can be experienced by consuming contaminated pork are muscle aches, eye infections, rashes, high fever, light sensitivity, and also chills.

Gastrointestinal disturbance can also be caused due to eating contaminated pork which could also result in various forms such as diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. 

Undercooked pork meat can also be a source of Staphylococcus aureus, which produces enterotoxin. After its ingestion and an incubation period of less than 6 and up to 10 h, symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, headache, dizziness, chills, perspiration, general weakness, muscular cramping and/or prostration, and diarrhea that may or may not contain blood (4).

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite member of the phylum Apicomplexa, and an obligate intracellular pathogen that is the causal agent of toxoplasmosis in humans. T. gondii infections typically result from the ingestion of cysts in raw or undercooked meat, with fresh pork and beef appearing to be the primary sources. The consequences of congenital toxoplasmosis range from mild to severe to fatal and include: mental retardation, seizures, blindness and death (4).

Other FAQs about Pork that you may be interested in.

How long to cook 8lb pork shoulder in a slow cooker?

How to tell if pork has gone bad?

Can you eat pork chops 2 days after the use-by date?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat medium-rare pork?”. We have also elaborated on the conditions of pork at which it is safe to consume, what are the nutritional components of rare pork, and what are the signs and symptoms of its contamination.

References

  1. De Cesare, Alessandra, et al. Impact of cooking procedures and storage practices at home on consumer exposure to Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella due to the consumption of pork meat. Risk Anal, 2018, 38, 638-652.
  2. Jang, Aera, et al. Effects of doneness on the microbial, nutritional, and quality properties of pork steak of different thicknesses. Food sci anim res, 2019, 39, 756.
  3. Pereira, Paula Manuela de Castro Cardoso, and Ana Filipa dos Reis Baltazar Vicente. Meat nutritional composition and nutritive role in the human diet. Meat sci, 2013, 93, 586-592.
  4. Bintsis, Thomas. Foodborne pathogens. AIMS microbiol, 2017, 3, 529.