Can you eat wagyu raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat wagyu raw?” and discuss what are the risks of eating wagyu raw.

Can you eat wagyu raw?

Yes, you can eat wagyu raw. Japanese Wagyu steak is typically eaten raw. However, it is not safe to consume raw meat.

Beef from Japanese Black cattle, also known as Japanese Wagyu, is one of the most renowned beef types. The carcasses of Wagyu steers at 26 months of age comprise 47.7% muscle, 41.7% fat, and 10.6% bone, which is the highest level of fat compared with the carcasses of Belgian Blue cattle, Holstein and German Angus (1).

Does raw Wagyu pose a risk of illness?

Yes, eating raw Wagyu or any uncooked meat can pose a risk of food illness. Infections or viruses that may result from eating raw steak include E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus poisoning, listeriosis, and salmonellosis (4).

Foodborne pathogens originating from the animal during slaughter such as Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli contaminate the carcass and spread to the cut or raw meat intended for further processing causing a major public health problem. In line with this, 48% of all beef is in fact related to outbreaks in the United States (3).

It is important to avoid raw and undercooked meat, especially if you are part of a vulnerable population, such as pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, and elderly individuals who are more prone to foodborne illnesses (8). 

Moreover, research suggests that certain heat-resistant viruses found in raw or undercooked meat may work in tandem with cancer-causing substances in the colon, heightening the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer (7).

Does eating raw Wagyu have any benefit?

Yes, eating Wagyu raw may have many benefits, as raw meat is a source of important nutrients for human health. Wagyu beef contains all nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and the protein absorption ratio from beef is about 97% (1).

An adequate protein is essential to maintain health and the adequate intake of protein also enhances our immune system. Some proteins could be denatured by heat processes, resulting in the decrease of the nutritional properties of the meat.

When meat is cooked, its moisture content and nutritional value can decrease. This is because heat causes the oxidation of the lipids in meat, which results in the loss of important fatty acids such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and conjugated linolenic acids (CLA) (5). 

These fatty acids are known to have potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and enhancing the immune system. 

A diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids is also beneficial to overall health, but these fats are lost during cooking, especially when high temperatures are used.

Furthermore, cooking meat can also reduce its vitamin B content. A study found that cooking beef led to a significant decrease in Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin compared to raw beef (6).

How should you Prepare Wagyu Beef safely?

Wagyu beef should be properly cooked in order to prevent food poisoning. In addition, cooking Wagyu beef improves its flavor (2). To ensure a safe consumption, you should (4):

  • Refrigerate beef at 40 °F (4.4 °C) and use within 3 to 5 days, or freeze it (0°F or -18°C) for up to 9 months. Avoid temperature fluctuations
  • If freezing longer than 2 months, overwrap these packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper or place the package inside a plastic bag
  • When preparing, wash hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water before and after the preparation
  • Do not use the same utensils to prepare meat and other food items
  • Cook all raw beef steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source 
  • For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before consuming the meat
  • Never brown or partially cook beef to refrigerate and finish cooking later because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed

What is the best method to cook Wagyu Beef? 

According to studies, the best method to cook Wagyu beef was the shabu‐shabu cooking method, as this method highlighted the flavor-related sensory characteristics of the meat (9).

In Japan, Wagyu beef is cooked using various methods, such as “yakiniku” (a Japanese-style meat grilling method), “shabu‐shabu” (a Japanese-style meat boiling method), and “sukiyaki” (a Japanese style meat grilling and boiling combination method). 

In the shabu-shabu cooking method, the meat pieces are cutted in a thinner form, which may have highlighted the perception of the taste-related sensory characteristics. Taste-related sensory characteristics such as “umami” and “sweet taste” and “sweet odor” attributed to the Wagyu cooked by this method.

Other FAQs about Beef  that you may be interested in.

Can beef stroganoff with sour cream be frozen?

Can beef stew be left out overnight?

Can beef mince go off?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat wagyu raw?” and we discussed what are the risks of eating wagyu raw.


  1. Gotoh, Takafumi, et al. The Japanese Wagyu beef industry: Current situation and future prospects—A review. Asian-Australasian j anim sci, 2018, 31, 933.
  2. Okitani, Akihiro. Organoleptic factors responsible for the superior palatability of Japanese Wagyu beef. INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF MEAT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. 1999.
  3. Soepranianondo, Koesnoto, and Dhandy Koesoemo Wardhana. Analysis of bacterial contamination and antibiotic residue of beef meat from city slaughterhouses in East Java Province, Indonesia. Veter world, 2019, 12, 243.
  4. Beef from farm to table. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  5. Alfaia, Cristina MM, et al. Effect of cooking methods on fatty acids, conjugated isomers of linoleic acid and nutritional quality of beef intramuscular fat. Meat Sci, 2010, 84, 769-777.
  6. Lombardi-Boccia, Ginevra, Sabina Lanzi, and Altero Aguzzi. Aspects of meat quality: trace elements and B vitamins in raw and cooked meats. J food Compos Anal, 2005, 18, 39-46.
  7. zur Hausen, Harald. Red meat consumption and cancer: reasons to suspect involvement of bovine infectious factors in colorectal cancer. Int j cancer, 2012, 130, 2475-2483.
  8. Ross, Danielle S., Jeffery L. Jones, and Michael F. Lynch. Toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, listeriosis, and preconception care. Matern child health j, 2006, 10, 189-193.
  9. Watanabe, Genya, et al. Assessment of the dynamics of sensory perception of Wagyu beef strip loin prepared with different cooking methods and fattening periods using the temporal dominance of sensations. Food Sci Nutr, 2019, 7, 3538-3548.