What To Do If You Ate Undercooked Sausage (2023)

  • What To Do If You Ate Undercooked Sausage (1)

Have you ever asked yourself, “Did I just give myself food poisoning by eating undercooked sausage”? There is no way to pinpoint the food poisoning came from undercooked sausage unless that’s the only thing you ate in days.

As most cases of food poisoning, there is a delay from when you ate the tainted food to your body reacting. Just because you ate undercooked sausage, does not mean you’ll experience food poisoning symptoms within the first hour. It can take days to manifest.

Sausage is one of those tricky meats that need to be watched carefully when preparing. There is a high tendency, the sausage you prepare will be undercooked. Although undercooked sausage doesn’t mean you’re going to get food poisoning, it can make your chances higher.

Many years ago, before I knew how to properly cook sausage, I gave my husband at the time an ultra-wicked case of food poisoning from the sausage dish I made. Let’s just say, it was a very messy situation. How was I supposed to know the sausage I made was undercooked? It looked done from the outside.

That’s the thing about sausage. It may look done from the outside, but unless you truly test its internal temperature you’ll never know if it’s fully cooked or under-cooked.

What exactly is sausage comprised of?

Most times sausage is made from a combination of pork, poultry, lamb, beef, and spices. Most sausage is not made from the best parts of the pig, sheep, chicken, turkey, or cow. They usually use the gross parts, also known as “by-products”, that would typically end up in dog food. You know, the ones no one wants to eat such as blood, guts, organs, lips, beaks, snouts, and butts.

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After all the meat (if you can call it that), dust from the floor and whatever other additives they add to its ground up, then stuffed into a synthetic casing – which can contain plastic or animal intestines.

I know, gross, right? How can something so delicious be so gross?

Can you get sick from eating undercooked sausage?

Yes, you can get severely sick by eating undercooked sausage, but then again it depends on what type of sausage you’re eating.

If you’re eating ready-to-eat sausages such as kielbasa, hot dogs, salami, bologna, those awesome pickled sausages you buy from Costco, or any other smoked sausage, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Now if the ready-to-eat sausage is out of date, then you may get sick from it.

Even though the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service or your State Health and Agriculture Department inspect all sausages that are processed in the United States. They’re not magicians or psychics and they can’t see if the sausage contains a harmful bacteria such as Trichinosis.

Can you see them looking through every little piece of sausage for a worm? Sorry, but it’s not gonna happen, unfortunately.

To play it safe if you open up a pack of Johnsonville sausage or any other brand of sausage (Johnsonville is my favorite), don’t start eating them straight from the package. Aside from the fact, that’s really gross, it can make you really, really, sick.

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Here’s a science tip for you.

The contaminated meat is infected with the larvae of a parasitic worm called Trichinella spiralis.

During the digestion process we breakdown the hard outer shell of the larvae, which sets the worms free to have a house party in your body. They usually attach themselves to your muscles. So basically, those party crashers are having a free-for-all in your body.

How long does it take to get sick from eating undercooked sausage?

Everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s immune system is not the same. But the majority of people who are infected with Trichinosis, the symptoms appear within the same day to 28 days. So the thing is, if it hits you 15 days later, you’re never going to know if it was the undercooked sausage or not.

You may have just thought it was the meatloaf you left sitting out on the counter for 4 hours to cool.

What are some of the symptoms of eating undercooked sausage?

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever & Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle soreness
  • Eye Swelling

What happens if I accidentally serve my family undercooked sausage?

Just because your sausage is undercooked, it does not mean you will get food poisoning. You do stand a higher risk of it, but unless the pork wasn’t contaminated at the slaughterhouse or during the grinding process, there’s a chance you’re not gonna get sick from it. But like everything in life, there are no guarantees.

Here’s the thing though. How do you know if there was cross-contamination at the packaging plant? How do you know if the meat fell on the floor before it was ground up?

You just don’t know.

When your healths involved, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, but if you’re the risk-taking type of gal, then go for it! Just don’t come back to me crying, cause all I’m gonna is, “I told you so”!

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My helpful tip to always ensure your sausage will be cooked.

Boil your sausage first on medium heat. You’ll know for sure your sausage is cooked.

Basic cooking tips for sausage

  • Poke holes in the casing with a fork.
  • Put it in a pot and boil on medium heat for a good 15 minutes before putting it in the oven or barbeque to turn it that lovely golden brown.
  • To double-check, use your meat thermometer and make sure it’s internal temperature is at a minimum of 160°F.
  • If you’re cooking chicken or turkey sausage you’ll want to get that internal temperature to a minimum of 165°F.

Not sure what type of thermometer you need, head on over to my earlier post How To Select The Best Food Thermometer.

Other ways to cook your sausage

How to cook sausage on the stove

  1. Boil on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Cut or poke holes in the sausage casing.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes, turning the links every minute.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Carefully add ½ cup water to skillet. Pour it in too fast, and it will scorch your face.
  7. Cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sausage’s internal temperature reaches 160°F for beef/pork-based sausage and 165°F for poultry-based sausage.

How to cook sausage in the oven

  1. Boil on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Cut or poke holes in the sausage casing.
  4. Cook on parchment paper or aluminum foil for 10 minutes, then flip over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Check the sausage’s internal temperature reaches 160°F for beef/pork-based sausage and 165°F for poultry-based sausage.

How to cook sausage on the grill

  1. Boil on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Cut or poke holes in the sausage casing.
  3. Place on grill and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. This will make them golden brown.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and place them away from the direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes. If your barbeque has a top shelf, you can put them on there for the last 3 to 5 minutes.

Bonus Sausage Storage Tips

Although this isn’t going to help you if you ate undercooked sausage, it’s always good to know how to properly store your sausage. Like I mentioned earlier, eating undercooked sausage is not a guarantee you’ll get food poisoning, but your chances may be higher if the sausage wasn’t stored properly.

If the sausage has a “use-by” date, follow that date. It’s the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date’s been determined by the manufacturer of the product. To learn more about use-by dates, you’ll want to read, “How to Understand Food Best Used-By, Sell-By, and Use-By Dates”.

If you’re unable to use the sausage within the recommended times for refrigerator storage, once you freeze it, it doesn’t matter if the date expires because the foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely. Pretty cool, right?

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Just make sure you thoroughly cook it and check it’s internal temperature before serving.

Fresh Sausage, uncooked1 to 2 days unopened or opened1 to 2 days unopened or opened1 to 2 months
Fresh Sausage, after cookingN/A3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
Hard/Dry SausageWhole, 6 weeks in pantry; indefinitely in refrigerator3 weeksSliced 1 to 2 months
Hot Dogs & other Cooked Sausage2 weeks7 days1 to 2 months
Bologna & Salami2 weeks3 to 5 days1 to 2 months
Summer Sausage (semi-dry)3 months3 weeks1 to 2 months

In conclusion

Don’t chance making yourself or your family sick. I didn’t mean to give my ex-husband food poisoning, but it happened.

I understand, sometimes you’re in a rush between getting the kids to and from afterschool activities, helping with homework, while preparing to get dinner ready. Sometimes, you’re not paying attention to the exact time you started cooking something.

That’s mom-life for you. It’s the constant struggle of doing it all; yet, sometimes in our rush things fall through the cracks, like checking the internal temperature of your sausage to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked. Just poking it alone isn’t going to let you know it’s fully cooked.

Your turn

I really would love to know how you ensure your sausage is cooked before serving it to your family? Please share in a comment below.

Until we meet again,


Recommended Reading: 6 Facts You Need To Know About Eating Undercooked Chicken

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How long does it take to get sick from eating undercooked pork? ›

How soon after infection will symptoms appear? Abdominal symptoms can occur 1–2 days after infection. Further symptoms usually start 2–8 weeks after eating contaminated meat. Symptoms may range from very mild to severe and relate to the number of infectious worms consumed in meat.

Is it OK to eat slightly undercooked sausage? ›

Eating undercooked sausage can lead to food poisoning, so it is important to make sure that it is cooked properly. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating sausage, seek medical attention.

How long after eating undercooked sausage will I get sick? ›

The symptoms of food poisoning from meat generally occur within seven days after eating. Accordingly, there is little need to worry if you experience no changes in health within seven days after eating undercooked meat.

How do you treat food poisoning from undercooked pork? ›

Over-the-counter medicines may stop the symptoms of food poisoning. Bismuth subsalicylate — you may know this medicine as Pepto-Bismol — can treat nausea and diarrhea. Loperamide — you may know this as Imodium — is an antidiarrheal that stops diarrhea by slowing down the digestive process.

Can you get sick if pork is a little pink? ›

There is a common misconception that pork can only be cooked to a dry husk in order to be safe. This can lead people to believe that if they see pink, the meat must not be safe to eat. However, this isn't true at all! Pork can be cooked pink and still be safe for consumption.

How to help food poisoning? ›

Treating food poisoning
  1. rest as much as possible.
  2. eat when you feel up to it – sticking to small, light and non-fatty meals at first (bland foods such as toast, crackers, rice and bananas are good choices)
  3. avoid alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks and spicy and fatty foods because they may make you feel worse.

Can cooked sausage still be pink? ›

The salt treatment in sausage can cause it to retain a pinker color for a given temperature than would normal ground meat. The fact that you used a trusted thermometer, and that the sausages were well in the safe zone (even conservatively 165 F is more than enough) indicates that the sausage was perfectly safe.

How do I know if I ate undercooked sausage? ›

You can determine whether or not your sausages are undercooked by checking their internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should reach about 160 degrees F to be safe to eat (165 degrees F if you want to take the extra precaution).

Can you get food poisoning from one sausage? ›

It is important to note that all meat carries a risk of food poisoning if it is not cooked or stored properly. Hotdogs, minced meat, sausages and bacon should be cooked thoroughly and should be consumed immediately after being cooked.

Can I take Pepto Bismol if I have food poisoning? ›

In some cases, adults can take over-the-counter medicines such as loperamide link (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate link (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) to treat diarrhea caused by food poisoning.

How long does pork poisoning last? ›

These symptoms can last from five to 45 days, but they usually begin to appear 10 to 14 days after consuming the infected meat. Abdominal symptoms can occur much sooner at one to two days after infection. Milder cases of trichinosis are often mistaken for the flu or other common illnesses.

What are 5 signs and symptoms of trichinosis? ›

These symptoms usually include diarrhea (loose stool/poop), nausea (feeling of sickness in the stomach), fatigue, and stomach pain. Other symptoms may appear 2-8 weeks after infection and may include fever, headaches, chills, muscle soreness, pain and swelling around the eyes.

Is it OK to eat pink pork sausage? ›

In short, yes! We used to be afraid of pink pork because of a parasite known as trichinosis, but the risk of contracting it is virtually nonexistent these days. Like beef, pork temperatures are designed to cook the meat long enough to nix E. coli, which means it may have a little color in the middle.

Is a little red in pork OK? ›

A Little Pink Is OK: USDA Revises Cooking Temperature For Pork : The Two-Way The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the recommended cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. That, it says, may leave some pork looking pink, but the meat is still safe to eat.

How much pink is okay in pork? ›

That color doesn't indicate anything nefarious—at 145°F, your pork is at a “medium rare” temperature. You would expect to see some pink in a medium rare steak, so don't be surprised to find it in your pork chops! If the pink color freaks you out, you can continue cooking it until it reaches 155°F.

Is Gatorade good to drink after food poisoning? ›

Drinks to avoid

Many people may consider sports beverages a good alternative to oral rehydration solutions. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) caution against using sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, because they are not designed to replace diarrhea-related losses.

What is the fastest natural cure for food poisoning? ›

Eating bland foods to start, like rice, bananas, toast, and applesauce can help to resettle your stomach as you recover from food poisoning. It's also a good idea to avoid alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, and fried or high-fat foods or drinks during this time.

What does undercooked sausage look like? ›

If your sausage is undercooked, it will be soft and spongy to the touch. It will also have a very bright pink color, almost red in some cases. Undercooked sausage can also give off a slight sheen of grease.

Can you undercook fully cooked sausage? ›

Undercooked sausages may contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. To avoid this risk, it is important to make sure that your sausages are cooked through completely before serving them.

What color should Uncooked sausage be? ›

Raw, high-quality, ground breakfast sausage needs to be a bright red or pink color on the outside. The red coloration is present due to oxygen reacting with oxymyoglobin (a meat pigment), forming a vibrant red color on the surface of the meat.

What helps food poisoning from sausage? ›

The treatment

This means drinking plenty of fluids to replace those lost as a result of vomiting and/or diarrhoea. There are sachets you can purchase which act as a fluid replacement. These contain electrolytes and any other important vitamins/minerals which will replace those lost during your illness.

How do I know if I ate undercooked pork? ›

Symptoms of Uncooked Pork Food Poisoning

Nausea. Stomach cramps. Throwing up. Diarrhea.

How long does trichinosis last? ›

Trichinosis usually gets better on its own. In cases with a mild or moderate number of larvae, most signs and symptoms typically go away within a few months. However, fatigue, mild pain, weakness and diarrhea may stay for many months or years.

What is the fastest way to resolve food poisoning? ›

Until you feel better, you should rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Try to drink plenty of water, even if you can only sip it. Eat when you feel up to it, but try small, light meals at first and stick to bland foods – such as toast, crackers, bananas and rice – until you begin to feel better.

How do you get rid of meat poisoning? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Let your stomach settle. Eat after your stomach is settled and you are hungry again.
  2. Replace fluids. Replace fluids with water, sports drinks, juice with added water or broths. ...
  3. Ease back into eating. ...
  4. Avoid certain foods and substances until you're feeling better. ...
  5. Rest.
Dec 30, 2022

Does Pepto Bismol help with food poisoning? ›

Medications to consider

Bismuth subsalicylate (aka Pepto Bismol®) is generally fine to take. It has soothing and anti-inflammatory effects.


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