Can you get sick from eating rare steak?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating rare steak” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating rare steak. 

Can you get sick from eating rare steak?

A rare steak carries no serious risk of illness. This is because the steak is thoroughly cooked on the outside. Moreover, meat that is purchased from a well-established brand often carries very little chances of contamination. When such meat is cooked rare, the chances of getting sick are reduced greatly. If you are unsure about the handling of meat, then eating a rare steak can pose some serious health risks.

As the steak belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable food commodity and can have E.coli, Salmonella, Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus spp., Leuconostoc spp, Pseudomonas spp., Clostridium perfringens, Shigella, or Staphylococcus present in it which can cause food poisoning which is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Moreover, there can be present parasites like Giardiasis lamblia or Tapeworm in the beef, and eating the rare steak made of such meat can cause parasitic infections. 

Last but not least the consumption of eating rare steak that had some parasites present on it can result in trichinosis (in case of pork) or toxoplasmosis infections (in case of lamb, pork, venison).

The only way to kill the bacteria that found their way to the meat during storing or handling it can only be destroyed by cooking the meat till its internal temperature reaches about 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in case of ground beef or 145 degrees Fahrenheit in case of the steak.

But in the case of the rare steak, as the meat is not cooked thoroughly, therefore there are chances that these bacteria are still present in the steak and if you eat such rare steak, you can fall victim to food poisoning.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of rare steak or undercooked bacteria-laden steak often causes diarrhea.
  1. Food poisoning after consuming a bacteria-laden rare steak is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  1. If you have consumed a rare steak that has microbial growth in it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  1. Consuming a rare steak that is bacteria-laden will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

So if you have made a rare steak out of the meat that was contaminated with bacteria, then by eating such a rare steak, you can literally get food poisoning. In this case, you should take medical help and try to drink as much water as possible so that while the body is getting rid of the toxins in the form of diarrhea and vomiting, the water that you drink will protect your body against dehydration that vomiting can otherwise result in.

Certain vulnerable populations are at a higher risk of contracting serious food-borne illnesses from eating a rare steak. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or the people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

You can read more about food poisoning here.

Other FAQs about Steak which you may be interested in.

How long does Raw Steak last in the fridge?

How to cook steak in a convection oven?

How to cook a thin steak?

Tips to handle and store meat properly

  1. You should always store your meat at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit therefore it is always advised to store your meat at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. You should never let your meat sit out for more than 2 hours. meat lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the meat that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore there are greater chances of the meat being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours at the room temperature.
  1. It is advised to always store the meat on the shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there can be a lot of temperature fluctuations at the door of the fridge that can degrade the quality of the meat.
  1. It is better to store your raw meat on the lowest shelf of the fridge to prevent it from dripping into other foods.
  1. According to USDA, you should at least cook your steak till its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  1. In case you want to freeze the meat, it is best practice to wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil or thick plastic wrap before putting it in a plastic freezer bag. By doing so you will prevent freezer burns on your meat.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating rare steak” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating rare steak.