In the beginning, bacon was simply salted pork.
But nowadays, bacon can mean more than just that. With its many forms and uses, bacon can refer to any piece of meat cured with salt, sugar, and/or spices.
It can be smoked, cured, cured but not smoked, and even dried (which gives it a distinctive flavor).
Bacon can be cut into strips, cubes, or bits, and it can be cooked, baked, grilled, pan-fried, fried, boiled, or deep-fried.
You can eat raw bacon. It is not harmful to your body as long as the meat is cooked after it is cut.
The danger lies with the nitrates and nitrites that are added to the bacon. They form carcinogenic nitrosamines when cooked.
In this article, I will explain whether you can eat bacon raw or not. Let’s check it out.
Is it safe to eat raw bacon?
Consuming meat that is not cooked increases your risk of illness from food poisoning. These meats may harbor harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
According to the CDC, there are 48 million people in the United States who get food poisoning each year, and 128,000 of them are hospitalized.
Potential dangers of eating raw bacon
Unlike other raw meats, bacon spoils less easily due to its salt and nitrites. nitrites fight against botulism even though salt prevents the growth of certain bacteria.
The risk of food poisoning can still be increased by eating bacon raw. Foodborne illnesses that can be linked to undercooked or raw pork include:
The parasites that cause this condition are relatively harmless to most people, but they can endanger people with weakened immune systems.
The disease is caused by a species of parasites that can cause vomiting, weakness, and eye swelling.
If you have parasites in your intestines, they can cause abdominal pain, weight loss, and other problems.
It is possible to kill parasites and reduce your risk of food poisoning by cooking bacon correctly.
Eating raw bacon can increase your risk of contracting diseases such as toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, and tapeworms. It is not safe to eat raw bacon.
Other health concerns
Consuming processed meats like bacon is linked to an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer.
Meats that have been preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding preservatives are called processed meats.
Hot dogs, pastrami, sausages, and ham are other examples.
According to one review, colorectal cancer risk increases by 18% for every 2 ounces (50 grams) of processed meat eaten each day.
This finding was supported by another review that linked processed meat intake to colorectal cancer.
Your cancer risk can be influenced by the processing, cooking, and digestion of these foods.
Nitrites and nitrates, which are added to processed meats like bacon to prevent spoilage and preserve color and flavor, can form nitrosamines in the body.
These compounds are harmful to your health.
It is possible to reduce your cancer risk by limiting your intake of processed meat and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, eating more fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly.
A high intake of processed meats, such as bacon, is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Moderating your intake is something that should be done.
How can I cook bacon safely?
You can reduce your risk of food poisoning by handling and cooking bacon properly. The safe handling instructions for bacon packages are required by the Department of Agriculture.
Keep bacon separate from other foods and wash work surfaces, utensils, and your hands after handling it.
It is recommended to cook pork products at a minimum internal temperature of 145F (62.8C).
Since bacon is thin and hard to determine its temperature, it is best to cook it until it is crisp. It can be cooked in an oven, microwave, skillet, or pan on a stove.
One study shows that well-done or burnt bacon may be more hazardous than less well-done bacon because of its increased content of nitrosamines.
Compared to frying, microwave cooking seems to have fewer harmful compounds.
It is important to properly handle and cook bacon to prevent illness and the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines.
Salt-cured bacon is made from pig belly. It is unsafe to eat this popular breakfast item raw because of the increased risk of food poisoning.
It’s a good idea to cook bacon thoroughly, but be careful not to overcook it, as it can increase the formation of carcinogens.
Reducing your consumption of bacon and other processed meats is the healthiest thing to do.