Have you ever seen Bear Grylls eating raw meat in his TV shows? Generally, he’s lost in a wild place and he chooses to hunt and set some traps or he finds an already dead animal.At this point, all he has to do is eating this food. He could set up a fire and prepare food but this act could take him one hour or more, so he decide to consume it uncooked. Is it a savvy move?
Eating Parasites and Bacteria!
Even if meat you procure in the great outdoors may seem better compared to what you purchase in the supermarket, that does not mean it’s sufficiently safe to eat uncooked due to the presence of parasites and bacteria.
Here a short list of bacteria and parasites that may be on your wild menu:
- Trichinella worms can be carried by numerous wild mammals
- Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei; Notoedres douglasi) Meat is edible but heavy infestations can result in secondary bacterial infections. Avoid skin contact with carcasses as transient infections by Sarcoptes scabiei is possible.
- Escherichia coli
- Larva migrans (Baylisascaris procyonis). Avoid exposure to fecal material and intestinal tract contents because larvated eggs are infectious for humans if accidentally ingested.
- Tularemia can be passed while you’re butchering the animal. It’s common in rabbits.
- Prions. They are like the infectious agent that provokes mad cow disease. Squirrels carry prions in their bones and their brain, cooking them can’t completely destroy the prions so NEVER eat brain and marrows.
- Lyme Disease is trasmitted by ticks (sometimes called deer ticks). You’ll get it dressing the game while eating meat is safe.
Inspect the outer layer of the carcass, using gloves or a stick to turn it. When performing external analysis, it’s fundamental to understand that the unhealthy look of an animal may be induced by other means, not only by transmittable disease. Aging, poor or lack of nutrition, physical injuries, and physical defects that hinder food gathering and consuming tend to be the other variables that can be responsible for this sort of appearance.
- Do the feathers, hairs, shell or any other body coverings seem in good health?
- Is the animal in good shape or is it rather emanciated or skinny?
- Are unnatural issues present, including abnormal growths, deformities, or traumas?
- Does it have other sorts of symptoms of sickness, for instance proof of diarrhea?
After the external analysis, you’ve to inspect the interior of the animal while the carcass is skinned and processed.
Make use of all senses when inspecting a carcass. Bad smells commonly arise from decaying tissues, it’s possible that come from an old injury which has abscessed. Nevertheless, the spilling of intestines content into the animal cavity in the course of extraction or from cutting during harvest can be the origin for such smell. The food eaten by the animal may even cause strong smells which are not a sign of illness. For example, mussels or sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) are meals eaten by animals that cause them to smell strange, but do not indicate potential human health risks. The look of organs and flesh is frequently damaged during the hunt and may be hard to judge. However, if you find the presence of tumors, fungal growth or abscesses in the interior, you should reject the carcass.
- How does the animal interior smell?
- Do any of the organs or tissues seem abnormal or irregular in appearance or color?
- Do any of the tissues or organs seem to have abscesses or infections?
- Are there any tissues or organs that contain what appear to be parasites?
Always Cook Raw Meat
The simple reason to cook the meat you harvest in the wild is because heat can destroy the majority of the harmful infectious agents.
Remember: in the event you discover a sick or an already dead animal, never eat its meat.
Every signs and symptoms of infections, abscesses, tumors and fungal growth outside or the carcass also suggest that you must discard it.
Another reason is that humans are genetically predisposed to eat cooked food. Uncooked meat is much more difficult to masticate and uncooked plants have too many fibers to be easily digest. Our small teeth and sensitivity to raw foods are physical proof of this adaptation.
Remember: bacteria prosper and reproduce between 4°C and 60°C. To kill bacteria you must cook meat taking the internal temperature up to 65°C.
- Roast: Cut meat into slim strips and put them on a flat rock placed near the fire.
- Grill: Build a spit placing two green forked twigs on both sides of a fire. Spear a piece of meat with green, thin branch then rest it in the forks just over the fire.
- Bake: Wrap meat in green, non-poisonous, leaves. Put the package in a shallow hole and cover it with mud. Build a fire just over the mound and let the heat bake it.
For any uncooked meat remains, use natural refrigeration technologies. If you’re in a snowy place, you can merely wrap up them in snow.
In a more warm place, insulate the meat with leaves and clay and submerge it in a stream or put it in a hole near a water source. This storage technique is temporary.
In future posts, i’ll describe in details methods to preserve meat with salt, by drying and by smoking.