So how safe is – Red Meat?

This week, I thought it might be interesting to look at  red meat  - what it means and whether it is safe or not.

Red meat is considered to be any meat from the following; beef, sheep, pork, deer, goat, buffalo, bison, kangaroo and ostrich.


Red meat is one of the potentially hazardous foods and therefore allows the food poisoning bacteria to grow if it is not properly handled and stored.

Therefore it must be stored at less than 5C (41F) or held above 60C (140F) to ensure it is safe for consumption, and then only if all surfaces are cleaned and sanitised.

So is rare red meat safe to eat?

With the exception of Pork and any meat coming from birds, a piece of red meat that is not rolled will be safe for consumption if it is still raw inside. This is because the food poisoning bacteria will only be on the outside surfaces, that is why rolled, cubed, minced and stirfry meats and products must reach at least 75C internally to ensure it is safe for consumption.

What is Blue Steak and is it safe?

This is usually an Eye Fillet, which is effectively served charcoal on the outside and raw inside. It is a interesting combination of textures and is an acquired taste. As long as the outside of the steak has reached at least 75C, the cut will be safe for consumption but requires expertise in preparing and cooking.

What is Steak Tartar and is it safe to eat?

This is steak served raw usually with a raw egg. It is not cooked and food safety is only possible with this speciality dish if it has been properly prepared with lemon juice and served ice cold. It is named after the group who originally developed it. A piece of meat was cut in the morning by the Tartars and then held under the saddle of their horses as they rode all day. This tenderised the meat and it was then eaten that night raw.


Different countries will have different beef and lamb and other red meat grades.

In Australia, the following are the main grades for beef - Manufacturing, Budget (mainly used for mince and is the primary grade sold in Australia , also the base grade for two of the supermarket groups in this country), Ox / Bullock, Prime (this is the base grade for only one of the supermarkets), Yearling Beef, 70 Day Grain fed (this is the supermarket premium), 100 day Grain Fed, High Grade MSA, 150-200 day Grain Fed and Wagyu.

What is Wagyu?

Wagyu beef is from specific cattle breeds and has more marbling that any other type of beef. Marbling is the level of fat distributed through the meat and the higher the MSB rating, the higher the marbling. The MSB range is 3 to 12, with Australian Wagyu reaching a 9 at this stage.

So what cuts are there?

With Beef, the main cuts are; Blade / Chuck, Shin, Cube Roll, Brisket, Striploin, Tenderloin, Flank, Rump, Silverside and Knuckle.

With Lamb, the main cuts are; Leg, Chump, Tenderloin, Shortloin, Loin, Forequarter, Shank, Neck and Rack


In a  recommended serving size of 85 - 113 g (3-4 ounces), there is the following;

  • Half the Daily Intake  of Protein
  • Vitamins B6, B12, Niacin and Riboflavin
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Omega 3
  • When trimmed of all visible fat - beef has only 4% saturated fat

Bits and Pieces

  • Goat meat is the most popular red meat in the world
  • Victoria is the biggest exporter of lamb and mutton in Australia, with over a third of the total. It is also the biggest exporter of  goat meat with over half of the Australian total.
  • Queensland is the biggest exporter of beef and veal in Australia with about half of the total for the country.
  • Pork tenderloin has the lowest number of calories of any red meat cut.
  • People can become allergic to red meat if bitten by a specific  type of tick.
  • Eating of lean red meat several times a week has now been found to not have any effect on the increase in cardiovascular disease in western countries.
  • Ham is the red meat with the highest fat and sodium contents

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