What Happens If You Eat Slightly Pink Sausage? Is It Safe?

Marria Beklavac By Marria Beklavac

Sausages always bring a delicious sizzle and smoky aroma to the table. But what if you cut into one and there’s a slight pinkness inside? Is it done, or about to make you regret that extra bite?

Don’t panic – a bit of pink in your sausage doesn’t automatically spell trouble.  Modern pork safety standards are incredibly high, and even a little pink color isn’t necessarily a sign of undercooked meat.

Want to know the full story behind those rosy hues? There’s more to it than meets the eye…

Is It Safe to Eat Slightly Pink Sausage?

The answer depends on whether it is cooked or undercooked!

If you have properly cooked the sausage and there is still a slight pink tint in the center – it might be safe to eat.

Only undercooked or raw sausages are unsafe!

But why do sausages remain pink even after cooking? Here are the culprits,

1. Salt

Salt is often used in sausage making to preserve the meat and improve its flavor. But adding salt can also help retain a pink color, especially in cured ones.

2. Spices and seasonings

Sausages also contain spices and seasonings to add more flavor. But adding ingredients like paprika or cayenne pepper gives a deep red color to the sausage, which doesn’t change even when you cook it.  

3. Nitrates

Nitrates are additives commonly used in sausage production. They help preserve the meat and maintain its pink color.

4. Colorants

Some sausages may contain colorants or dyes that contribute to the pink color. It is done to make the sausage look more appealing when cooked.

So, sometimes, even when you thoroughly cook the sausage, these ingredients can make it appear pink.

But then, how do we know whether it is safe to eat?

There are a few things you can do here,

1. Read the ingredients list

First, you can check the ingredients list on the back of the sausage package to know if it contains colorant, salt, or seasonings.

2. Check internal temperature

Next, you can use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the sausage. It should reach at least 160°F (71°C).

3. Observe the texture and appearance

If you don’t have a thermometer, simply observe how the sausage looks. A fully cooked sausage should be,

  • Firm 
  • Juicy 
  • Evenly brown 
  • And not pink from the inside

When is slightly pink sausage unsafe?

The answer is simple – when it is undercooked!

The pink color often means that the sausage has not reached the right cooking temperature and it is still raw. 

Why is it unsafe?

Sausage is made from ground meat, which contains harmful bacteria. 

In order to kill these bacteria, you must cook them at the right temperature. 

But, if the sausage remains pink, it is a sign that the meat is still undercooked.

This means it might not have reached a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. 

Eating such undercooked sausage can make you sick by allowing harmful bacteria into your body. 

3 Risks of Eating Undercooked Sausage 

Now that you know that eating undercooked sausage is harmful, let’s understand the risks involved. 

1. Foodborne illnesses (Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria)

Did you ever suffer from stomach cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting after eating something bad? 

That’s because harmful bacteria are present in the food. 

According to WHO, unsafe food causes 600 million cases of foodborne diseases globally. 

Some of the most common bacterial present in undercooked sausages include,


Salmonella is a type of bacteria commonly found in raw or undercooked poultry, eggs, and meat, including sausages. 

So, what will happen if you eat undercooked sausages contaminated with Salmonella?

 Well, it can cause symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. 

E. coli (Escherichia coli)

E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestines of animals and humans. However, there are some strains of E. coli that can cause food poisoning when consumed through contaminated foods like undercooked sausage. 

If this bacterial enter your body, it can cause, severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes fever. 


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can contaminate ready-to-eat foods like deli meats and sausages. 

So, what will happen if you consume sausages contaminated with Listeria?

It will cause symptoms like fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. 

2. Trichinosis from pork sausages

Eating undercooked pork sausages can be very risky.

Why? Because they contain a dangerous parasite called Trichinella (tapeworms and roundworms)

So, what exactly can these parasites do? They can infect humans and cause a disease called trichinosis. 

Symptoms of trichinosis include,

  • Muscle pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever


In some rare cases, these parasites can potentially lead to life-threatening complications affecting the heart, lungs, or brain.

3. Toxoplasmosis from meat contaminated with parasites

Another harmful parasite found in undercooked sausages is – Toxoplasma gondii!

So, why is it harmful?

Because this parasite can cause toxoplasmosis, which is a dangerous infection. It can lead to flu-like symptoms such as,

  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue


Toxoplasmosis can harm people with weak immune systems or pregnant women, possibly causing birth defects or other serious problems.

Safe Internal Temperatures for Different Types of Sausages

Do you want to know the right way to cook a sausage?

Here are the two things to keep in mind,

  • It should neither be undercooked
  • Nor too overcooked

So, how will you create this balance? With the help of a meat thermometer!

Simply insert it into the thickest part of the sausage and read the temperature. When it hits the recommended safe internal temperature, turn off the stove. 

Viola! Your perfectly cooked sausages are ready!

So, here’s a table to help you understand the right internal temperature for different types of sausages.

Type of SausageSafe Internal Temperature
Pork Sausage160°F (71°C)
Beef Sausage160°F (71°C)
Chicken or Turkey Sausage165°F (74°C)
Italian Sausage (Pork or Chicken)160°F (71°C)
Bratwurst160°F (71°C)
Spanish Chorizo160°F (71°C)
Andouille160°F (71°C)
Kielbasa165°F (74°C)
Mexican Chorizo160°F (71°C)
Blood Sausage160°F (71°C)
Longaniza160°F (71°C)


Cooking sausages to these internal temperatures will kill any harmful bacteria and make the meat safe to eat.

What to Do If You Accidentally Eat Undercooked Sausage?

Did you accidentally eat an undercooked sausage?

Well, don’t worry! Because not everyone gets food poisoning from undercooked food.

But it’s important to take precautions. 

Here’s what you can do if you suspect you’ve eaten undercooked sausage.

  • Pay attention to any symptoms that may develop, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or fever.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, especially if experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Get plenty of rest and allow your body time to recover if you are feeling unwell. 
  • If you develop severe symptoms, then consult a healthcare professional.
  • Wash your hands and utensils the utensils in which you have cooked the sausage to prevent cross-contamination.

So next time, be careful when eating sausages. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked by using an internal meat thermometer. 

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By Marria Beklavac Owner
Hey there! I'm Marria Beklavac, a barista by trade and a cook by heart. My culinary journey started at 12, inspired by my grandpa, who first introduced me to the wonders of cooking. His passion sparked mine, leading me to a life where each meal is an adventure. In Terra's Kitchen, I blend my love for coffee with my zeal for cooking to share my culinary exploits with you. This blog is my space to share the joys, discoveries, and lessons from my kitchen to yours. Welcome aboard – let's cook up some magic together!