Bacon is a delicious breakfast that many people enjoy regularly. However, some people may not realize that if bacon isn’t cooked properly, it can be quite dangerous. Undercooking your bacon can result in you becoming ill from food poisoning, which is something no one wants to deal with.
Eating undercooked bacon can have health repercussions, such as the risk of gastrointestinal infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites found in raw bacon. However, with proper cooking and storage, you can avoid these risks.
Read on as we explore the dangers of undercooked bacon and what exactly happens when you consume it.
Is It Safe to Eat Undercooked Bacon?
If you’ve eaten bacon before, you know it’s delicious. It’s salty, meaty, and smoky — the perfect combination for any breakfast or snack. But did you know that when cooked improperly, it can be dangerous?
Bacon is a type of salt pork made from the belly of a pig (usually) and cured with salt to preserve its flavor. After curing, bacon is often smoked before being sold at markets worldwide, where it’s served as an excellent appetizer or side dish with eggs, potatoes, and more.
The fat renders when bacon is cooked properly, and the meat becomes crispy. However, if bacon is undercooked, it can retain its raw meaty flavor and have a chewy or rubbery texture. More importantly, eating undercooked bacon can put you at risk of food poisoning.
Can You Die From Eating Raw Bacon?
Bacon can be a great addition to any meal, but some dangers are associated with eating it raw. Death from bacon is very rare, but eating raw bacon can lead to food poisoning.
This matters because it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of consuming any food, even something seemingly innocuous as bacon.
While death from eating raw bacon is infrequent, it’s still possible to get very sick from doing so. So if you’re ever feeling adventurous and want to try some uncooked meat product, remember that there may be fatal consequences.
Symptoms You Might Experience After Eating Raw Bacon
The most common symptoms of eating undercooked bacon are:
Other symptoms may also occur, such as:
- Body aches
- Joint pains
- Rash or hives on the skin
- Blood in stool or urine
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
A few different things that could happen to you if you eat raw or undercooked bacon:
This is the most common danger of eating raw or undercooked bacon. Food poisoning from Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria can all occur if you eat raw pork products. These illnesses can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and in some cases, death.
It’s a type of food poisoning from eating improperly canned or preserved foods. Symptoms of botulism include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Death (if left untreated)
While bacon is not typically canned or preserved, it is possible for the bacteria that causes botulism to grow on undercooked meat.
Another type of food poisoning, listeriosis, is caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This bacterium can cause severe illness in pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include:
- Muscle aches,
- Diarrhea, and
This bacterial infection is one of the most common food poisonings in the United States. Caused by the Salmonella enterica bacteria, symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps; and
- Fever within 12-72 hours after eating contaminated undercooked bacon.
Most people recover within seven days without treatment, but some may require hospitalization.
4. Escherichia coli (E. coli)
It’s bacteria found in animal intestines and fecal matter. Some E. coli can cause severe illness in humans when contaminated meat or water is consumed. Symptoms range from mild (including diarrhea and abdominal cramping) to life-threatening (including kidney failure).
If you think you may have contracted E. coli from eating undercooked bacon, it’s essential to seek medical help immediately.
What Does Undercooked Bacon Look Like?
Pink or Red Meat
To determine whether your bacon has been cooked properly, you’ll want to check its color. Undercooked bacon is pink or red.
Light Brown Edges
If you see lots of dark brown spots or a deep reddish-brown color on the surface of your bacon, that means it’s been overcooked. Undercooked bacon will only have light browning.
Not Yet Curled Up
Undercooked bacon will not curl as much as cooked bacon, and the ends may appear straight rather than curled up. Cooked bacon will curl up more than undercooked bacon does because all of the fat has been rendered out of it.
The fat in uncooked bacon tends to be softer and whiter than cooked bacon. It is also greasier when cooked too long at temperatures like frying. Cooked bacon has crispy fat browned after being heated for a long time at low temperatures like baking.
Soft and Floppy
Undercooked bacon will be soft and floppy when you touch it. It won’t be crispy, firm, or brown if it’s still raw or undercooked.
Also, undercooked bacon will be chewy, while cooked bacon will be crispy. The meat will shrink slightly in the center and curl at the ends, but it should not appear charred or burned.
If unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry and cook the bacon a bit longer until it reaches your desired texture.
Again, is it safe to eat undercooked bacon? Eating undercooked bacon can cause bacterial (trichinellosis) or parasitic (trichinosis) infection. Both infections cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
How to Cook Bacon So It Isn’t Undercooked?
Two main ways can help you cook bacon so that it is cooked all the way through:
1. Bake at 400°F for 12-20 Mins.
If you want the crispiest texture, place the bacon on an oven rack or place it in a microwave-safe dish with paper towels underneath.
Bacon takes 12 to 20 minutes to bake at 400°F. They are finished when the bacon strips have a deep golden brown color. For crispier bacon, bake it for an extra minute or two. If you prefer crisp edges and a chewy middle in your bacon, cook it for less time.
2. Pan Fry Over Medium Heat
Fry over medium heat until golden brown. Turn over onto another side once both sides have been very lightly fried.
Use tongs instead of forks, so they don’t puncture holes in your meat before crisping up fully when using a skillet on the stovetop.
There are many ways to cook bacon; all of them will give you a delicious, crispy piece of bacon. But the best method still depends on your preferences.
How to Know If Bacon Has Gone Bad – 4 Tests
If you’re questioning whether or not your bacon is still good to eat, there are a few things you can do to find out. Here are four easy tests to find out:
1. Smell Test
If your bacon smells funky or sour, it’s probably not safe to eat anymore.
If you’re unsure about the smell of your bacon, smell another piece of uncooked bacon from the same package — if they have a similar smell, they’re probably still good to eat. But if they smell very different, throw them out immediately!
2. Texture Test
If your bacon looks wet, slimy, or discolored, it’s probably bad and no longer safe to eat. It should be firm and smooth to the touch, with no sliminess or tackiness. If it isn’t like that, then it’s likely spoiled or not fresh enough.
3. Color Test
It is safe if the fat is white or yellow and the bacon looks pink. Your bacon has spoiled if it has gone:
- With hints of green or blue
The meat changes color due to a chemical reaction brought on by prolonged air exposure.
4. Freezer Burn Test
If your bacon looks chalky, dry, and frosty in areas or has ice crystals, then it suffers freezer burn. In that case, you should probably throw it out.
Freezer burn is caused by dehydration, which leads to the formation of ice crystals and discoloration of the fat. You can prevent freezer burn in your bacon by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before keeping it in the freezer.
If you notice discoloration on your frozen bacon, it’s best to throw it out immediately because it’ll only worsen with time.
How to Store Bacon Properly
Bacon is tasty, but it can be tricky to store. Here are tips for keeping your bacon so you’ll always have the perfect piece every time:
- Before purchasing, inspect your bacon. Always check the sell-by date to ensure you get the freshest product.
- Before storing your opened bacon, wrap it in paper towels. These towels will take up moisture from the product’s respiration.
- You should store bacon in a freezer or refrigerator. In the refrigerator, unopened bacon will keep up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Bacon that has been opened and is still raw will keep for a week in the fridge and six months in the freezer.
- You should store opened bacon in a resealable plastic bag, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, or use plastic wrap to extend its shelf life.
- Throw the bacon right away if it has spoiled to avoid contaminating other goods.
- Properly stored cooked bacon will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Cooked bacon should be wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and stored in shallow airtight containers to ensure quality and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions – Consuming Undercooked Bacon
Can You Eat Bacon a Little Pink?
It is safe if the fat is still white or yellow and the bacon is still its natural pink color. Your bacon has spoiled if it has gone brown, gray or has a hint of green or blue. The meat changes color due to a chemical reaction brought on by too much air exposure.
How Do I Know If Bacon Is Cooked?
When the meat’s color changes from pink to brown and its fat has had time to render, bacon is considered fully cooked. Although bacon is typically served crisp, it’s OK to take it from the heat when it’s still a little chewy.
Can You Eat Half-Cooked Bacon?
You should not consume undercooked bacon since it can contain harmful microorganisms that can make you sick.
If you consume undercooked bacon, ensure it is cooked until it is crisp and the middle is no longer pink. Make sure the bacon has reached an internal temperature of 145 deg F using a meat thermometer.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Bacon?
In a cold pan, arrange the bacon strips without overlapping them. The fat renders more gradually, ensuring consistently cooked strips. Cooking at medium heat will ensure even rendering.
Turn the strips as necessary until they reach the appropriate level of crispness, which should take between 8 and 12 minutes.
Is Bacon Cooked If It’s Not Crispy?
When the bacon starts to form a sort of white foam, that is a good indication that it is ready (at least for crispy bacon). Remove it from the pan and let it cool; it will be nice and crispy. Fry it on medium-low heat until it turns golden brown if you prefer something less crispy.
Is It OK to Eat Raw Bacon?
Eating raw bacon exposes you to viruses, bacteria, and parasites. This can lead to bacterial infections or the parasitic infection trichinellosis, often known as trichinosis. Both these infections result in gastrointestinal issues.
Conclusion – What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Bacon?
So there you have it, all the facts about undercooked bacon and how it could affect your health.
My advice? Be careful when cooking bacon, and ensure that it’s cooked all the way through before eating it. And if you’re not sure, err on the side of caution! Remember: if your bacon looks and feels different than it did before cooking, it’s probably done.
If you pay close attention to the texture and color of your bacon, it’s quite easy to figure out if it’s undercooked.