Are there any hazards associated with eating un(der)cooked specialty meats, such as rabbit?
January 23, 2007 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Are there any hazards associated with eating un(der)cooked specialty meats, such as rabbit?

I find that I'm cooking specialty meats more often - rabbit, goose, duck, etc...

Raw chicken has a salmonella risk, raw beef has e. coli risk, etc...

What are the risks, if any, of eating raw or undercooked "other" meats? How careful do I need to be with cleaning up after, say, fabricating a fresh bloody rabbit carcass?

Is there a good reference for looking these up?
posted by Caviar to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tularemia (warning contains gross pictures)

Found like so, which should probably work for the other meats too.
posted by Partial Law at 7:48 PM on January 23, 2007

Trichinosis is a hazard with pretty much any kind of wild game. The CDC says that there's particular hazard with bear, pork, wild feline (such as a cougar), fox, dog, wolf, horse, seal, or walrus.

The CDC also says that freezing wild game meat isn't enough to kill the trichinella cysts; only thorough cooking is good enough.

Depending on where the animal was taken, there can be a risk of Bubonic Plague. (It's not very common in the US, but it's not just rats and mice who can carry it.) I would also be concerned about hantavirus.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:19 PM on January 23, 2007

Yeah; tularemia. And other diseases, which, if you don't want to look up in Wikipedia, you could watch a season of House to get most of the details of...
posted by baylink at 8:36 PM on January 23, 2007

To be more specific, if it makes a difference, I'm not talking about meat I caught myself, but meat purchased from a farmer's market from a reputable farmer, with USDA inspection. Obviously they're not 100% infallible, but hopefully that would eliminate some of the risks of eating wild game.
posted by Caviar at 8:38 PM on January 23, 2007

Risks are pretty low. Most of what you're buying is going to be farm-raised. And since you're buying from a farmers' market, why not just ask the farmer?

(Rabbit isn't generally eaten rare, though, and neither is goose. Duck can be, though. Mmmm.)
posted by desuetude at 8:48 PM on January 23, 2007

Good point about asking the farmer.

I'm more concerned about food prep safety than I am undercooked meat.
posted by Caviar at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2007

In terms of commercially grown poultry, I would think that Salmonella would be the big problem, and for that there's really no substitute for good cooking.

Prevalence of salmonella in poultry farming varies by region. In New England now it's so common in poultry farming that it probably can never be eradicated. 15 years ago I heard an estimate that one third of eggs and chickens in Massachusetts stores were infected with salmonella. (And apparently it's now in 16% of all chickens in the US.)

Ordinarily that kind of salmonella won't kill you, but it can make you so miserable that you'll wish it would. I had small attacks of it twice in the ten years I lived in Boston.

I think this is a case of "better safe than sorry". Thoroughly cooked meat tastes fine and the risk from it is a lot lower. Why take the chance?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:51 PM on January 23, 2007

I'm more concerned about food prep safety than I am undercooked meat.

Are you asking if there are any special provisions you should take with game meats that you wouldn't need with more conventional meats? If so...not really, as long as you're already following general food prep safety guidelines to prevent cross-contamination. (Considering what's done to our supermarket chickens, I'd sooner pull out the hazmat suit for them than your rabbit.)
posted by desuetude at 6:03 AM on January 24, 2007

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