We get asked this one a lot, and it's a slightly tricky one, as we can't speak for all manufacturers and suppliers, or butchers, but we're here to give you the information you need to help clear things up a little.
First of all, black pudding is actually cooked during the manufacturing process, so the black pudding in your fridge is not technically 'raw'. That being said, that doesn't necessarily mean you can eat it without cooking it first, which is where the confusion lies. In a nutshell, it all depends on how the black pudding has been treated along it's way to you and your fridge. It also depends on how you've handled and stored your black pudding after purchase.
Here at True Bites we stock black pudding produced and packaged in Bury by The Bury Black Pudding Company, which we receive directly from their factory. Their black pudding, according to their FAQ's, can definitely be eaten without cooking it first, as the product is 'cooked before being packaged'.
How We Store and Process Black Pudding
We store the black pudding in our fridges at HQ and are careful to avoid cross contamination by storing it separately from raw meats. When a customer orders a black pudding, or even sliced black pudding, we treat the product as if it's a ready to eat product. We use separate areas to work in and separate equipment to process and package all ready to eat products. Basically, we treat black pudding exactly the same as we would a product such as cooked ham.
Storing Black Pudding at Home
Like all ready to eat products, you should be very careful to handle and store your black pudding correctly at home. Always store it in the fridge on a shelf above any raw meats, to avoid any leaks/drips, and take precautions to avoid cross contamination from knives and cutting boards etc. when you're preparing your black pudding to eat.
If you ordered black pudding from us at True Bites, or even another trusted supplier, and have handled the black pudding correctly from receipt of your order, meaning you've stored it in the fridge on a shelf above raw meats, and taken precautions to avoid cross contamination, then yes you can eat your black pudding without cooking it first.
If you didn't buy your black pudding from True Bites, or are unsure on how your supplier might have handled your black pudding, or even whether you might have mishandled it yourself, then you should cook your black pudding to a minimum of 75°c before eating. It's better safe than sorry.
Loose Black Pudding
We would also always recommend heating loose, unpackaged black pudding to a minimum of 75°c before eating because they are not packaged and have, most probably, been handled and could possibly have been displayed on a counter with raw meats.