In this Seasoned Advice answer regarding meats, the writer states:

Additionally, we generally assume that any potential pathogens are only present on the surface of whole muscle cuts.

Is this a valid assumption for all animal meats (animal meats to include fish, game, beef, poultry, pork, insects, et al.)?

2 Answers 2


No, this is a feature primarily of beef, some wild game, and poultry. Meats like pork and many kinds of fish may contain parasites and thus need to be cooked to higher temperatures than eg beef or duck (pork) or frozen before cooking (many kinds of fish) to minimise the risk of illness.

  • Thank you Johanna. Is it a safe assumption just for beef? Also, which game meats, and which not? Oct 30, 2020 at 19:16
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket It's also a safe assumption for duck. Among wild animals, I know that moose, reindeer, deer, and most (maybe all?) wild birds are safe to eat cooked rare. I do no have a complete list, I'm afraid.
    – user141592
    Oct 30, 2020 at 19:53
  • 1
    I suspect that poultry varies by country -- in the US, chickens are not inoculated against salmonella, so it's a risk. The CDC estimates 26k hospitalizations and 420 deaths per year, but they don't have that broken down by undercooked poultry, live animals, or undercooked eggs. (and they also mention it can be in more than just poultry)
    – Joe
    Nov 10, 2020 at 0:24

If we're talking about examined meats that come from certified source then I would say yes. With a caveat - everything that have interaction with air should be treated as "surface". So if you buy gutted fish the "inside" should be treated as surface. Same with turkey (or chicken) for stuffing.

  • 1
    Chicken can have salmonella in it, I would not assume the inside of chicken is safe.
    – GdD
    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:34
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    Indeed. No-one ever asked if you want your chicken burger rare, medium or well.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:36
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    I can't agree with you on this. Even if I bought a chicken from a very reputable source I would always cook it to a safe temperature as there's still a relatively high risk.
    – GdD
    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:46
  • 3
    The risk is actually higher in the US than EU, because of legislation on poultry vaccination.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2020 at 10:00
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    @moscafj - I'd rather stick pins in my eyes ;))
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2020 at 12:47

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