It’s pretty widely accepted that you shouldn’t be eating raw meat. But what if the food in front of you tastes like meat, smells like meat, and looks like meat, but is made of plants?
These are pretty much what veggie burgers are. Some of the more popular ones are The Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger.
But the question is, can you eat these veggie burgers raw?
While it is possible to eat a freshly opened packet of plant-based meat raw, I would highly recommend that you not do so. For one thing, the taste and smell of these burgers mimic those of real meat and can be unpleasant to eat raw. Perhaps more importantly, we cook our food to kill bacteria. Bacteria can grow on all sorts of food and veggie burgers are no exception to this rule.
There’s so much more to understand. Let’s talk about it.
Can you eat a veggie burger raw?
The answer here is yes, it is possible to eat a veggie burger without cooking the meat patty.
While there have been several cases where people have wound up completely fine after eating a raw veggie burger, it’s still highly recommended that you cook your veggie burger before you consume it.
There are several reasons why the manufacturer strongly suggests this.
- Veggie patties are created to mimic that of beef patties as much as possible. With that said, an uncooked slice of veggie burger patty can taste very similar to an uncooked ground beef patty.
- Another reason may be the smell of uncooked veggie burger patties. You likely won’t be able to digest this meal easily. Also, there will be a certain raw meaty odor associated with the plant-based artificial blood. This can turn a lot of people away.
- Like all foods, even plant-based foods are susceptible to growing bacteria. The only way we currently know how to safely eat food is to either eat it fresh or cook it to a high enough temperature. This will kill the bacteria. Anyone who eats food that has a certain amount of bacteria growing on it will likely catch some sort of food poisoning soon after.
- So a few raw plant-based foods that you wouldn’t normally eat unless it’s cooked. Take, for example, the pea protein powder that is sometimes used to make this patty. Don’t be surprised if you somehow turn out sick after eating this raw.
What do uncooked veggie burger patties look like?
There are so many different kinds of veggie burgers out there. There’s the Beyond Burger, The Impossible Burger, the Morning Star veggie burger, Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger, and probably much more that neither you nor I have ever seen before.
And with this, the manufacturers have all decided to add their look to these burger patties.
Some of them look like the real thing. Some of them have little bits of green and orange colors that mimic bits and pieces of vegetables like carrots and greens.
You can probably see bits of corn inside some of these veggie burger patties.
I guess that most of these companies want to give you the initial impression that these are burgers made with a plants vibe.
Whatever the case may be, these raw, uncooked veggie burgers have variable colors and ingredients.
What should veggie burgers look like when cooked?
Veggie burgers will often look almost identical to their meat counterparts after being cooked.
It’s the char, and the blackening product resulting from the flames and the heat.
While some burgers do have delightfully vibrant colors and bits of vegetables embedded within the grounding, by the time you cook it properly those will be hard to see. It’s still visible though.
Can you get sick from eating undercooked veggie burgers?
Yes, you can get sick after eating undercooked veggie burgers.
Most people who have attempted to do this have often followed with symptoms of upset stomach and even diarrhea.
Food poisoning is somehow less frequent and that may be due to the benefits of possibly how much slower bacteria grows on plant-based foods rather than meat-based foods.
It’s crucial to keep in mind, however, that there are certain complicated ingredients that manufacturers use in making these veggie burgers. These ingredients may interact with certain people if left uncooked.
Below is a list of some of the more common ingredients that are used to make meatless burger patties.
Less than 2% of what makes plant-based burger patties is methylcellulose. Now, this is an ingredient that is somewhat tolerated by most people.
Traditionally, it functions as a thickener as well as an emulsifier.
It’s not considered an allergen nor is it toxic, however, it does have some laxative properties.
Officially from the US National Library of Medicine, methylcellulose is approved by both the United States food and drug administration and the European Union as being safe for human consumption.
This ingredient is used in meat products and chicken to help retain fat and water.
It means that it holds in water and fat better and it also emulsifies foods like sausages, meats, and yes meat patties.
And it’s also been recorded by WebMD to have properties that can help you lose weight, boost energy, and even build muscle. There have also been studies that link soy protein concentrate to hormone balance and lowering the risk of cancer, heart, and bone illnesses.
This is one of the ingredients that help fight against bacteria and mold growth.
Culture dextrose has properties that stop the growth of bacteria and mold.
Even though it is deemed safe for human consumption, it has been linked to several cases of stomach upset, tiredness, and increased thirst.
Being that it is also considered a type of sugar, it may lead to high blood sugar levels in your body. People with diabetes should try to avoid added sweeteners.
Everyone indeed needs a certain amount of fat in their diet. It’s just healthy this way. Fatty oils have the benefit of supplying calories and essential fats to help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins at a more efficient rate.
The typical plant-based burger patties will have a mixture of vitamins and nutrients which include but are not limited to vitamin E, several different vitamin B’s, vitamin C, and niacin.
What are the signs and symptoms of food poisoning?
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Does veggie burger meat go bad?
In most cases, when someone gets sick after eating food, there is a possibility that what they have eaten has turned bad. Veggie burgers are no exception to this rule.
The likelihood of getting sick if a person eats old or spoiled food is typically high. This is especially true because bacteria and mold can grow on virtually anything humans consume.
There are several ways to avoid getting sick from consuming unknowingly bad foods.
- Always smell your food before you eat it. This goes well with foods that you don’t cook either. And it is especially true if you don’t plan to cook your veggie burger patties (again, it’s not recommended to eat raw veggie burger patties). Look for any foul or sour smell and if you detect any, there is a chance that your veggie patty has gone bad.
- Visualize your veggie patties after you take them out of the packaging or remove them from the fridge. You want to look for any slime or mold that could occur. Sometimes you might even find furry or non-furry patches in certain areas around the patty. Something like this would probably confirm that there is mold growing on your food and that you should throw it out immediately.
- Make sure you keep an eye on the expiration date. Manufacturing companies spend a lot of time determining when is it safest to eat, and when it is no longer safe to eat. Some manufacturers may keep the dates conservative but they are oftentimes spot on.
- As a word of advice, once you’ve opened the airtight packaging, the clock begins to tick towards your patties turning bad. The best route to keep your uncooked and uneaten from going bad is to place them in the freezer and freeze them. Bacteria and mold are often sensitive to extreme temperatures. They won’t be able to grow in a freezer environment.
Veggie burgers still need to be cooked
Now, I know this is just plant-based burgers, and yes cooking them under fire is not as important as if they were real meat, but it is highly recommended to cook them.
They still need to be cooked to a proper temperature.
Even though this isn’t actually a meat-based product, it still holds true that veggie burgers can still go bad. This means that not properly cooking your veggie burgers may likely lead to a risk of foodborne illness.
Pathogenic bacteria can still contaminate these types of food. And cooking it thoroughly is the safest bet to making sure you don’t get sick.
Is it ok for veggie burgers to be pink in the middle?
After reaching out to some of the more popular brands of veggie burgers, I found that in every single case it is perfectly fine to have a darkened charred exterior with a pink center.
In most cases, the only reason why this is okay is that most bacteria usually grow on the outside of food. It is rare to ever find bacteria growing from the inside. Cooking the outside of your food will kill the bacteria.
The middle of your patty is safe to consume being pink.
What’s the best way to grill veggie burgers?
Even though it is highly suggested that you cook your veggie burger patties, you don’t have to overcook them. I found an incredibly easy and dependable method on how to cook your veggie burgers that will get you the best results almost every time.
This method is so highly effective that it will provide a perfectly charred exterior while keeping the interior slightly pink. It’s completely safe to eat as well as deliciously juicy.
- Start by heating up your gas or charcoal grill until it reaches 350° or 400° F.
- Season your patties.
- Once the temperature is just right, place your patties on the outer edge of the grill, away from the direct flame. It doesn’t matter what side you place them on.
- Close the lid and allow it to cook or rather smoke for 5 minutes.
- Now, place your patties directly over the heat to char. Flip them occasionally in order to get those grill lines.
- You can also place a slice of cheese on top once you’re closer to the end.
- Serve them inside bread with lettuce tomatoes and whatever it is you want.
At first, I thought these veggie patties would be as good as the real thing. But I was so wrong. I ended up loving these patties so much, that I bought another box worth of the Impossible patties and the Beyond Meat patties.
The bottom line
In short, there’s really no valid reason to eat a raw, uncooked veggie burger. While it likely won’t kill you, it can make you seriously ill.
What we are really concerned about is the existence of bacteria growing in your food. Getting food poisoning is not a fun experience.
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