Can bacteria in Beef be killed without heat?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Is there any way to kill bacteria in raw ground sirloin without cooking it? Possibly some sort of light or UV?

I have been eating raw sirloin with onion sandwiches occasionally for 30+ years with no problems. (they used to serve it at weddings) It is awesome!

After this came up in a conversation with a doctor, she looked at me as if I were from another planet and suggested never eating it raw again.

Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Gamma rays in sufficient quantity. It's the method used for "irradiated sterilization".

Guess the doctor has never had sushi or steak tartar. I've even had chicken sashimi in Japan. About the only place I'd trust that though.
 
  • #3
Borek
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It is possible to sterilize samples with gamma radiation, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterilization_(microbiology).

Honestly, in this particular case I would not care much about what doc said. If the meat is fresh and was checked for parasites, it is perfectly safe. My guess is that it is just a jerk knee reflex of someone who never ate such things. Raw meat dishes are popular in many cultures - and I don't mean Amazonian Indians. See for example

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpaccio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steak_tartare
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett

and while it is not beef, it is still raw:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashimi

served in almost every Japanese restaurant.

Edit: posted at almost the same time.
 
  • #4
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It's possible that the doctor's concern comes from the fact that meat is always expected to be cooked in the US, so it's handled/stored with that in mind?
 
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  • #5
Borek
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meat is always expected to be cooked in the US
Is it? Or is it just a fact that most people think that way, because they are not aware of other possibilities?

Yes, in most cases meat is cooked, yes, most people never ate raw meat, yes, most people are not aware of the fact that there do exist dishes made of raw meat. And yes, I think doc reaction is a prejudice.
 
  • #6
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Personally, I wouldn't eat a raw ground meat product if it was bought already ground up. I just don't have that much trust in other people, I guess. (For example, was the grinder completely clean before the beef was ground? Maybe it was it used to grind pork before the beef and not properly cleaned. And why was the sirloin ground in the first place? They probably could get more $$ for it if it was unground, so was it looking too bad to sell as a steak or roast?)

I'd advise you to buy a sirloin steak and grind it yourself, if it's something you can't live without.
 

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