Digestive Illness and Beef Consumption

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If eating beef makes you feel sick to your stomach, avoid eating beef until you've consulted your doctor. A common cause of digestive illness from beef consumption is food poisoning, which can cause various gastrointestinal symptoms to develop within hours of consuming contaminated beef. Other reasons you may feel ill after eating beef include irritable bowel syndrome, meat intolerance or a meat allergy. Talk with your doctor for a clinical diagnosis of your condition.

Digestive illness from eating beef may be related to various conditions.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning affects more than 76 million Americans each year, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Food poisoning occurs when you consume beef that is contaminated with toxins, bacteria or other infectious organisms. Within four to 36 hours after consuming the contaminated beef, you will develop vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and abdominal pain. There is no cure for food poisoning from eating contaminated beef aside from getting more rest, drinking more liquids and eating a bland diet for a few days. If your symptoms are severe, however, call your doctor.


Food poisoning from consuming beef can be prevented. Most cases of food poisoning from beef are related to not fully cooking the meat, not washing your hands or using contaminated utensils. MedlinePlus recommends using clean dishes, washing your hands every time you touch the meat, using a cooking thermometer and cooking beef to 160 degrees. Do not use the same plate for raw beef and cooked beef. Do not eat beef that has been left raw in the refrigerator for more than two days. Do not eat meat that has a foul odor or taste.

Meat Allergy

If you're allergic to the proteins or carbohydrates in beef, you may develop digestive complications within a few minutes of consuming beef. Meat allergies are the result of a hypersensitivity of the immune system that causes your body to react to the beef as if it were dangerous. Your body unleashes disease-fighting antibodies that attempt to fight off the beef proteins, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Antibodies trigger other chemicals that lead to inflammation in your digestive system, causing diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramping and pain. Call your doctor immediately or get emergency help if you have an allergic reaction immediately after eating beef.

Meat Intolerance

A food intolerance prevents you from digesting a particular food and can make you feel ill. If you're intolerant to beef, your body's digestive system fails to produce enough of the proper enzymes needed to digest it. Proteins from the beef remain undigested, leaving them to interact with bacteria that cause increased gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. People with irritable bowel syndrome may also develop these symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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