Eating Meat Makes My Stomach Hurt

If your stomach hurts after eating meat, it's probably because the meat you ate was rancid or contaminated. However, if you regularly experience lower abdominal pain after eating red meat, it could be a sign of an allergy.

If your stomach hurts after eating meat, it’s probably because the meat you ate was rancid or contaminated.
Image Credit: Eugene Mymrin/Moment/GettyImages

Stomach Pain After Eating Meat

Stomach pain after eating meat usually happens if you've eaten rancid or contaminated meat. The USDA says that bad meat usually has a sticky or slimy texture and an unpleasant smell, and may also have changed in color.

Meat with these characteristics is likely to make you sick as these are signs of bacterial growth. Your meat may also have been contaminated with mold or another microorganism that can make you sick.

The Mayo Clinic says that consumption of such microorganisms can result in food poisoning. Food poisoning causes a range of symptoms, including fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and other gastrointestinal problems. If you feel like throwing up after eating meat, chances are you have food poisoning.

Stomach pain after eating meat is more likely to occur if you've consumed undercooked meat. Cooking your meat fully kills any bacteria present in your food. People who prefer their meat to be cooked rare, medium-rare or even medium are consequently at a higher risk of foodborne illness since microbes may still be present in their food.

Read more: Food Poisoning Culprits: Sprouts and 7 Other Risky Foods

Food Safety When Cooking Meat

The US Department of Health & Human Services recommends you cook most meats to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, certain meats need to be cooked to a slightly higher temperature. For example, chicken, turkey, duck and goose need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Undercooked meat has not been cooked all the way through. If you like your steak served medium rare, for instance, it will be cooked to an internal temperature between 130 and 135 degrees F. Similarly, birds with red meat such as duck or goose are usually cooked to medium, which is equivalent to an internal temperature between 140 and 150 degrees F.

Cooking your meat to the recommended temperature means you'll kill any bacteria present in your food. However, this isn't a 100 percent guaranteed way to prevent food poisoning.

Certain bacteria, like E. coli and Clostridium botulinum, produce toxins. When you heat foods that have been contaminated with these bacteria, you kill the bacteria. However, heat can't remove any toxins that were already produced.

Toxins can also cause symptoms of food poisoning. For example, the Mayo Clinic says that the toxins in E.coli will damage your intestinal lining. Their consumption results in stomach pain and eventually causes bloody diarrhea, too.

Read more: 11 Food-Safety Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

Allergies to Red Meat Products

Red meat allergies are fairly rare. People aren't born with red meat allergies. Instead, this allergy develops after they are bitten by a tick.

According to a March 2016 review in the Allergo Journal International, this allergy is becoming increasingly common. In fact, an April 2018 review from The Medical Journal of Australia said that this allergy has now been identified on every continent except Antarctica. The majority of cases have been reported in Japan, Australia, the United States and Germany.

If you have a red meat allergy, you'll likely experience lower abdominal pain after eating red meat. You may also suffer from swelling and hives and might even experience anaphylaxis. Your symptoms will usually appear three to six hours after you've eaten a piece of red meat such as beef, lamb or pork.

There's no cure for tick-induced meat allergies. If you are diagnosed with a meat allergy, you'll most likely have to cut out red meats. You may also need to avoid red meat products, such as pork-based gelatin, if your allergy is very serious.

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