A top UK restaurant was stripped of it's 5-star food safety rating last week after Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) found 'high risk' undercooked chicken livers being used in pate.
The inspection on Rocksalt restaurant in Folkestone was carried out after a diner ended up in hospital for three days after eating the dish. In a formal complaint made to the local council he said that the chicken livers were 'jelly-like' and 'almost raw'.
The restaurant hasn't accepted responsibility for the illness but made a payment of GBP £3000 anyway as a 'payment of grace'.
Head chef Mark Sargaent, who trained under Gordon Ramsay, defended the way in which the chicken livers were prepared.
"It appears that we are no longer allowed to cook chicken livers pink, something I have grown up with and learnt since college," he said.
“A well done chicken liver is like eating rancid, crumbly paste but according to the powers that be it is how we should consume them. So when my chef said that we cook them to 70°C instead of the recommended 75°C, still over in my opinion, they decided to drop us from five stars to two.”
Is It Safe to Eat Undercooked Chicken?
In a word, no. There are a number of reasons why raw and undercooked chicken is more dangerous than other types of meat:
- Poultry meat provides an exceptionally good growth environment for pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, with the latter often found in chicken livers and other internal organs
- Poultry is more porous and less dense than other types of meat which makes it easier for the bacteria to penetrate and infect
- The way in which chickens are farmed and slaughtered contributes to the increased likelihood of dangerous bacteria being found in the meat when compared to other animals
The only way to kill the harmful bacteria found in poultry is to cook all parts of the chicken to 75°C for 2 minutes of longer.
Do People Eat Raw Chicken?
Yes, in Japan dishes such as chicken tartare and chicken sashimi are often found on menus. The poultry is often served raw or simply boiled or seared for as little as ten seconds.
However, the Japanese government is trying to crack down on the practice. In July this year the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare issued a directive to restaurants that chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 75°C before being served.
What's The Best Way To Prepare Chicken Safely?
Follow the tips in our blog post - Top 10 Tips For Preparing Chicken Safely - to ensure that the chicken you prepare and serve is safe to eat.
And always remember the golden rule of food safety - "If in doubt, throw it out!".