Do you eat beef jerky? If so, why is it safe to eat? Beef jerky is a popular snack food that has been around for centuries. In this article, we will discuss why beef jerky isn’t going to kill you.
Is Beef Jerky Safe to Eat?
The protein in beef jerky is so dried out that it will take some time before bacteria can grow. This is why you don’t see many cases of food poisoning from eating cured meat products like sausage, ham, and even bacon. Beef Jerky just doesn’t have enough moisture to make it unsafe for human consumption. However, not all beef jerky is safe to eat because there are different types of curing processes used on the meat chunks as well as the spices added into the mix that could prove dangerous if consumed raw or undercooked by humans.
Why Would Beef Jerky Be Unsafe To Eat?
There are different types of curing processes used on the meat chunks as well as the spices added into the mix that could prove dangerous if consumed raw or undercooked by humans. The most common is a brine, which contains nitrates and salt, hence why it’s important to refrigerate beef jerky after opening. Some companies use nitrites in their methods with some ingredients (like onion powder) but these appear safe for human consumption according to recent research studies. On rare occasions when beef jerky isn’t cured properly, such as not using high enough levels of sodium nitrite or any at all because they’re trying to save money, you may see cases of botulism poisoning from food borne bacteria like Clostridium Botulinum.
How Do I Make Sure Beef Jerky Is Safe To Eat?
There’s a few things you can look out for to make sure the beef jerky you’re eating is safe.
- Look for the USDA seal of approval on the packaging. This means that while it may not be organic, they’ve at least inspected and approved what’s going into your food which is better than nothing!
- Avoid any beef jerky with MSG or anything from China as these ingredients are linked to cancerous tumors in rats. (Note: this has been disproven but why take chances?)
- Watch out if you’re getting jerky laced with nitrates because ammonium can build up in your body when eaten too often over time leading to a condition called methemoglobinemia which causes cyanosis and dizziness due to an imbalance between oxygen levels in the bloodstream.
You can eat beef jerky as long as you know how to prepare and store it. We recommend looking for these things before deciding if the product is safe to consume- whether you’re checking out a new flavor at the grocery store or picking up an item from your local gas station, always check the expiration date, make sure there are no signs of spoilage (which could include mold growth on surfaces), and look over all ingredients carefully.