Can you get sick from eating lamb? 

In this short article, we will present an explanation to the question, “Can you get sick from eating lamb?”. In addition, we will review the possible side effects of eating raw or undercooked lamb and ways to prevent them. 

Can you get sick from eating lamb?

The definite answer is yes, you can get sick from eating lamb if you are consuming it raw or if it is not seared properly. In fact, consuming any meat raw or undercooked will lead to food poisoning. 

Find out How to know if lamb is spoiled.

That is due to the presence of microorganisms that resides on the outside and sometimes inside of the lamb meat. 

Side effects of eating raw lambs 

If you have consumed raw lamb, that is not seared properly, you may start to develop symptoms of food poisoning within one to two days. Symptoms usually range from mild to severe, depending upon the infectious agent present in the raw lamb meat that you have consumed.  

  • Salmonellosis: 

Salmonellosis is the infection from Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella can thrive in the digestive tract of animals without causing illness. Consuming an undercooked lamb steak, on the other hand, may result in the consumption of this bacteria, which may lead to fever, watery diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. 

The microbe can travel from your intestines to other regions of your body, including your blood, bones and joints.

  • Listeriosis: 

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can be found in cattle, poultry, and soil. If you have consumed a good amount of undercooked lamb steak, you can develop a listeria infection that appears within 24 hours of intake. 

Body pains, watery diarrhoea, fever and nausea, are all possible symptoms. People with a compromised immune system, as well as newborns and pregnant women, are more prone to develop symptoms depending on the site of infection. 

  • Escherichia coli food poisoning: 

Escherichia coli is a bacterium with many strains that are usually found in animal intestines. Although the majority of strains are considered nonpathogenic, some strains can lead to severe food poisoning. 

Eating lamb that is not properly cooked means that the meal was not prepared with heat high enough to kill the bacteria. This permits the survival of E.coli  for a longer time leading to a potentially fatal health condition known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause sudden kidney failure.

  • Campylobacteriosis: 

This is caused by campylobacter bacteria that reside in the digestive tract of animals. It can lead to serious food poisoning. Symptoms usually appear following 2 days of ingestion. It gradually spreads to other body parts and blood, ultimately leading to lower immunity.

Does lamb need to be cooked fully?

Many people prefer lamb that is cooked at more medium temperatures ranging from 130 to 135℃. But, if you do not like it this way, you can continue to cook it at higher temperatures. In fact, lamb meat cooked at a higher temperature of 160 to 165℃ ensures higher safety. 

Can you eat a slightly pink lamb?

Lamb that has been seared properly from the outside is fine for consumption. That is because bacterial species (i.e., Salmonella, E.coli etc.) are mostly present on the outside, as opposed to being spread on the inside, which can be killed by heat when seared properly from both sides.

How long can lamb sit before cooking?

When you have to roast the lamb, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for almost 30 minutes. A slab of meat that has been allowed to come to room temperature before cooking, will sear more uniformly.

How to consume lamb safely? 

To prevent getting an infection from eating lamb, you should always cook it properly at the right temperature and for an accurate period of time to ensure that all the harmful bacterial species are killed. Always follow the cooking instructions available on the food packaging properly. 

The best way to treat lamb

  • Store meat in a refrigerator:  Store lamb meat in a refrigerator as soon as possible, never leave meat on the kitchen shelf. Otherwise, it will promote the rapid growth and spread of bacteria throughout the meat which can increase the chance of food poisoning.
  • Never store meat on the top shelf of the fridge: Always store meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator as juice from the meat container may drip out and spread over other items present in the refrigerator which will lead to their contamination. A sealed container should be used preferably for storing meat. 
  • Prevent cross-contamination: To ensure proper hygiene thoroughly wash any plate, utensil, or item that has come in contact with lamb meat to avoid any cross-contamination.
  • Do not let the lamb meat sit on the counter for longer than 2 hours: Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature if left for a longer period of time which renders the meat unsafe for consumption. 
  • Do not thaw on the shelf: Never thaw lamb meat on the counter by leaving it at room temperature as it can trigger bacterial growth which can be spread easily, leading to food poisoning. 

Other FAQs about Lamb that you may be interested in.

Can you cook lamb rare?

Can you cook lamb medium-rare?

Can you eat medium-rare lamb?


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the query, “Can you get sick from eating raw lamb?”. In addition, we have reviewed the possible side effects of eating raw lamb and ways to prevent them.