Can Eating Uncooked Impossible Meat Make You Sick?

There are many reasons that Americans are switching to plant-based meat options. Whether for their health, the environment, or a mixture of the two, the plant-based meat market has exploded in recent years. Right now, there are plenty of meat substitutes, from tofu "turkey" slices to beefless-beef patties to soy-based chicken strips. And, there are a variety of unique ingredients in these different plant-based products that are better for you than red meat.

One of the most popular brands, Impossible Foods, is made from plant oils and plant proteins. Specifically, according to Simple Recipes, "Impossible is a gluten-free burger made largely of soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, and sunflower oil, along with genetically engineered heme that gives it its meat-like quality."

Since this product is made from plant proteins, it would not be unreasonable to question whether or not it can be eaten raw. Whether you're a little impatient while cooking and a few red-colored chunks make it to your plate, or you want to know if you can enjoy a juicy rare burger sans beef, then you're in the right place. However, the answer isn't so straightforward.

You can eat it raw, but should you?

Most people are aware of the potential negative effects eating raw beef can have. According to Healthline, eating raw beef can quickly become dangerous as it can contain harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli). While that is not the case for Impossible meat, it is still not advisable. 

According to The Takeout, you can eat Impossible beef raw. The site says that some chefs have used the meat alternative to make tartar. The first rendition of this was conceived by Impossible Foods at the technology convention CES in 2019, as per CNET. However, Impossible beef has been designed to be best-tasting when cooked. 

A spokesperson for Impossible Foods told The Takeout, "Impossible products should be handled with the same caution as any other raw protein, and it's important to remember that there are always risks to consuming raw or undercooked foods." So, if you want to let your intrusive thoughts win, you'll likely be ok trying out a few raw pieces of Impossible meat. However, if you value your tastebuds' opinion, you may want to make sure you cook your Impossible beef all the way through.