Can You Eat Raw Turkey? What Could Happen?

can you eat raw turkey

It is no surprise that most people cannot even imagine eating raw meat, let alone trying a bite of it. However, some recipes include raw meat prepared in specific ways, such as the Japanese chicken sashimi. You might wonder whether the same can be done with turkey. So, can you eat raw turkey, and what are the risks if you do so? 

It is possible to eat raw turkey, as long as you do it in small quantities. Not many people prefer this way of eating turkey because there is a chance of ingesting harmful bacteria that might grow inside the raw turkey. This can lead to vomiting, fever, and other symptoms of food poisoning. 

You can see recipes that include raw turkey, and you might be tempted to try some of them. However, before you decide on doing such a thing, you should first inform yourself of the risks you can face. Therefore, I have explained what might happen if you opt for raw turkey, and how to notice when this kind of meat is undercooked. 

What Happens If You Eat Uncooked Turkey? 

Some people get really concerned if they accidentally eat undercooked meat, and do not get me started with the uncooked one. On the one hand, this kind of reaction is normal, considering the fact that uncooked meat comes with several risks. 

On the other hand, many people eat raw meat prepared according to specific recipes, so you can never be sure what is the right thing to do. 

When it comes to turkey, there are possibilities for this kind of meat to be eaten raw. Nonetheless, you have to know that you must not eat it in large amounts, and it needs to be prepared in specific ways. You need to put your safety as a priority, and avoid any kinds of unpleasant events and surprises that might happen due to eating raw meat. 

However, you need to understand that if you decide to eat raw turkey, you will never actually be 100% sure that it is safe to eat it. Namely, even if you are eating raw turkey in small amounts and it has been prepared according to appropriate methods, you are still running against some unpleasantries that might result from raw turkey. 

The reason why people are not so open to eating raw turkey, or generally raw meat, is because raw meat can be a carrier of harmful bacteria. These harmful bacteria might really negatively affect your health, i.e. you might be faced with some unpleasant illnesses. Many recipes include raw turkey, but they never tell you whether you are 100% safe when you make and eat them. 

If you have seen people eating raw turkey, you are now probably assuming what would be so dangerous if you decide to do the same thing. If they offer you this kind of dish in a restaurant, you might think it is probably harmless. Indeed, restaurants usually offer raw meat prepared in specific ways, but you are still running some risks when you are eating it. 

For instance, the raw, uncooked turkey might be a place for harmful bacteria to spread and grow. When you ingest the bacteria, you might notice some symptoms by which your body is signalizing that something is not alright. Usually, when you have eaten raw turkey and you have a reaction, you will notice it by side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and other symptoms of food poisoning. [1]

Uncooked turkey might also be a place for parasites and other toxins. Meat usually gets contaminated in the process of slaughtering animals. Therefore, even if the meat is clean and ready for preparation, you will never be able to notice the harmful elements that might have inhabited the same. That is why the cooking process is so important, and why many people do not dare to eat uncooked turkey. 

Common pathogens and bacteria found in uncooked turkey are Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. [2] Generally, proper cooking methods can destroy these pathogens, meaning cooked turkey is a much safer option.

Is Slightly Pink Turkey Safe to Eat? 

Slightly pink turkey or “rare” turkey is also a confusing notion regarding safety measures. Although some people tend to eat rare meat, others still do not dare to try it. On the one hand, this is because people do not like the taste of rare meat. They are not sure whether this is safe. 

So, when it comes to turkey that has not been fully cooked, you might still wonder whether this kind of meat is suitable to be eaten rare. If you do not want to take any risks, then fully cooked turkey is your best option. Only through cooking you can ensure that you have eliminated the bacteria that may be present in the meat. 

You have probably noticed that each meat has specific temperatures at which it should be cooked, and this is because the various temperatures help in the elimination of pathogens and bacteria. 

Rare turkey might be an attractive option for those who enjoy trying new things, but it is still not a safe option. Therefore, make sure that you always follow the recommended instructions for cooking turkey in order to avoid any unpleasantries. 

can you eat raw turkey

What Color Is Turkey Meat When Cooked?

There are different recipes that call for a different preparation of turkey meat, so cooking time is not always the same. This means that you cannot always rely on the given time to ensure when the turkey is fully cooked. Therefore, make sure that you always wait for the meat to obtain brown color to be on the safe side. If the turkey is still pink, that means that you have to cook it more.

can you eat raw turkey

What Does Undercooked Turkey Look Like?

Usually, when meat is not done, i.e. it is not fully cooked, you will notice a light pink color. Also, it will not have the smell you expect since it has not achieved its ultimate flavors during the process of cooking. Therefore, even if the recommended time has passed, and your turkey is still pink in some places, this will mean it still needs some time to gain the necessary brown color. 

However, sometimes, a turkey can get the brown color on the top, which can lead you to believe that it is done. That is why it is important to check the inner parts of the turkey carefully. The outer part of the turkey can be done more quickly because there are different kitchen appliances that work in different manners.

So, you need to look for the brown color on the outside, and the clear white color on the inside. This is a certain way in which you will know that your turkey is done. Many people do this check by inserting a knife in the middle of the turkey since it is the easiest way to examine the process of the cooked turkey.  

What Does Undercooked Turkey Taste Like?

A fully-cooked turkey is supposed to be juicy and rich in flavors. By contrast, undercooked turkey is not even close to this. Undercooked turkey is usually chewy and without any particular flavors. 

If you have included seasoning, you will not be able to taste any of it since there will be no time for the meat to absorb the flavors. Also, you will notice that the inside of the turkey might be firmer than the outside due to uneven cooking time. The taste will definitely be funny, and you will find it hard to enjoy. 

Although there is a possibility to eat raw turkey, it is recommended that you avoid this practice. Even if you prepare it in really careful and specific ways, there is still a possible risk of eating contaminated food. Therefore, it is better to opt for fully-cooked meat. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!