People Are Eating Raw, Rotten Meat to Get High

Annie Hayes
·3-min read

In this week's edition of 'just because something is legal, that doesn't mean it's a good idea', people on the internet are forcing down chunks of rancid uncooked meat to chase down a euphoric high, IFL Science reports.

They're calling it 'high meat', and steak tartare it is not. We're talking about flesh that has been left to decompose for months or even years. Patchy, yellow-ish meat that is so desperately putrid, it's riddled with visible bacteria colonies and coated in a layer of slime.

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After eating the rotten flesh, high meat purveyors report an intense feeling of euphoria. Whether it's caused by a reaction to the bacteria as it hits your stomach, the result of dehydration and delirium caused by severe food poisoning, or is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy – you believe it'll get you high, so it does – no one is sure.

Whatever is going on, there's a reason the human race has been cooking with heat for some 400,000 years. Not only does the process eliminate deadly bacteria, but it makes the meat easier to digest and – for most people – taste better.

Bizarrely, however, some purveyors of high meat claim to prefer the flavour. Apparently it tastes "cheesy" and "more acidic". Two words we personally wouldn't associate with your average sirloin dinner. But perhaps our palettes aren't refined enough.

In 2017, YouTube user sv3rige ate a (reportedly) year-old jar of the stuff, and we're not convinced by his reaction. If you can make it through this video without gagging, fair play. If not, he reckons it tastes "spicy", "overwhelming" and "like mushrooms".

In the same way that not all raw meat is necessarily harmful – steak tartare being a prime example – not all aged meat is bad, either. Pepperoni, salami and chorizo are, technically, fermented meats. And in Iceland, fermented shark meat is a delicacy.

But fermented meat is not the same as decomposed meat. Fermentation is a controlled process, leaving a slab of steak to rot is not. That high meat can cause "explosive incontinence" is unsurprising, and as possible side effects go, probably the least of your worries.

Food-borne bacteria such as salmonella and staphylococcus aureus can cause food poisoning so acute it can lead to hospitalisation. If you're lucky, you'll experience several days' worth of severe pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, it can cause death. So, if it wasn't already clear: don't eat decomposing flesh. Got it?

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