Can you get sick from eating half cooked bacon? (+3 tips)

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “can you get sick from eating half cooked bacon?” and provide you with a few tips on how to avoid food poisoning when consuming bacon. 

Can you get sick from eating half cooked bacon?

Yes, you can get sick from eating half cooked bacon. Bacon is salted thin strips of pork that has a smokey flavour. Eating any type of meat in its raw or half-cooked form can be harmful to health as they carry the risk of transmitting bacteria or parasites. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, approximately 48 million people get food poisoning each year, out of which 128,000 are hospitalized, while 3000 die. 

Potential dangers of eating half cooked bacon:

Although the salt and additives in bacon make it less prone to poisoning, half cooked bacon can still act as a potential host organism for various types of bacteria, viruses and parasites. 

Moreover, half cooked bacon that is packaged in factories and transported via food handlers carry the risk of infection by bacteria during the packaging or transportation process. Various bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Campylobacter are known for contaminating pork. 

The following food-borne diseases are commonly associated with the consumption of half-cooked bacon:

Trichinosis: 

This disease is characterized by diarrhoea, vomiting, swelling of the eyes and fatigue. It is caused by a species of parasitic roundworms which infect the intestine. Symptoms can linger for months.  

Toxoplasmosis

This disease is caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. It is especially dangerous for people with weak immune systems such as pregnant women. People who are affected by this disease exhibit symptoms such as swollen lymph glands around the neck, fever, muscle pain, headaches and inflammation of lungs. 

Tapeworms: 

Tapeworms are parasitic worms that reside in the intestine. Upon ingestion of food that is poisoned due to improper cooking or poor storage, these tapeworms infect the intestine by their eggs or larvae. These eggs travel outside the intestine and form larval cysts in organs and body tissues. Affected people thereby have symptoms like fever, vomiting, nausea, inflammation of the intestine and fatigue. 

How long after eating half cooked bacon will I get sick?

If you have consumed half cooked bacon that was a carrier of bacteria or other food-borne parasites, then it may take 1-2 days for you to get sick and the symptoms to appear.

Abdominal pain is the first sign of infection. Following that, other symptoms such as muscle pain, fatigue, and inflammation of organs may take 2 to 6 weeks to appear. Depending upon the number of parasites present in the contaminated food, the severity of the infection varies. 

Some patients experience mild symptoms that go away in a few weeks after proper care and treatment. While in some cases, symptoms such as muscle pain and inflammation, linger for a long time, from months to even years. 

How to tell if bacon is half cooked?

Half cooked bacon is pink/white in color, indicating that the meat is still raw. While bacon that is cooked properly is golden brown in color. Besides visual inspection, another way to check if the bacon is cooked completely is by using a fork style food thermometer. 

Once you poke the bacon with the fork, the digital thermometer reads the absolute temperature of the cooked bacon. If the internal temperature is less than 145 degree F, then you would know that the bacon is half cooked and needs more time and heat.  

How to cook bacon safely?

During the curing process, which involves treating thin slices of bacon to brine water, the moisture draws out any bacteria that may be resting upon the bacon. While this process may kill most of the bacteria, the bacon is still not ready to consume without risk of infection. If not handled properly and immediately refrigerated, it can lead to colonisation of parasites. 

Before consuming bacon, it is imperative that it is cooked safely. Most people smoke the bacon on a low flame, which imparts a woody smokey smell to the bacon. 

It is important to note that even though the bacon may turn crispy and brown in color and appear to be cooked, its internal temperature may not reach the desired temperature of 145 degree F during the smoking process. Therefore, cooking bacon at a temperature of 145 degree F is the fool-proof way to ensure that all remaining bacteria and parasites, if any, are killed efficiently. 

How long do you have to cook bacon?

Cured bacon must be cooked at a temperature of 145 degree F for a minimum of 15 minutes. The bacon slices must be evenly spaced, cooked for 15 minutes on one side, and then tossed and turned to cook the other side for another 10-15 minutes. The thickness of the bacon also influences the time needed to cook. The thicker the bacon, the time taken to cook increases. 

Conclusion:

In this article, we answered the question, “can you get sick from eating half cooked bacon?” and provided you with a few tips on how to avoid food poisoning when consuming bacon. 

References:

  1. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/disadvantage-raw-seafood-2853.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-bacon-raw#bottom-line
  3. https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/is-raw-bacon-safe-to-eat

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