The London-based Food Standards Agency is worried people may believe what they read in the newspaper.
A report that ran last weekend in the lifestyle section of The Daily Mirror about a celebrity chef who claims to love eating raw chicken has the FSA “reiterating our advice not to eat raw chicken.”
In a splashy package of text, pictures and video, The Mirror presented the notion that free range chicken “processed in a clean environment” is safe to eat without cooking. The FSA could not disagree more.
“Raw chicken is not safe to eat — it could lead to food poisoning,” FSA said in a statement issued in reaction to story in The Mirror. “Chicken should always be cooked thoroughly so that it is steaming hot all the way through before serving.”
FSA said The Mirror’s statement about free range chickens being safe to eat raw is simply not true.
“All raw chicken is unsafe to eat, regardless of the conditions that the birds have been kept in,” according to the FSA warning.
According to FSA, consuming raw chicken can lead to illnesses from Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
The newspaper said British consumers were requesting chicken served a little pink because it is “more flavorsome and definitely not dry.” Dishes like “chicken sashimi” are in demand, according to The Mirror.
“Chicken sashimi” originated in Japan where the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recently issued a warning with orders for restaurants. Japan’s ministry said raw chicken could be dangerous. It requires restaurants to cook chicken until the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius (167 degrees Fahrenheit) before serving it to customers.
The Mirror reported on the existence of “unsafe bacteria” and “microorganisms” that can be eliminated only by cooking. The newspaper also said a raw meat and fish diet “comes with a risk of developing a foodborne illness.”
The article also said the National Health Service in the United Kingdom says the public should avoid such a raw diet, especially young children, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
There are enough “adventurous types” creating demand, however, that such cold chicken dishes are appearing on British restaurant menus, according to The Mirror. Chicken tartare or thinly sliced raw chicken seared or boiled for about ten seconds is another such example.
The newspaper quoted nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert as saying people consuming such raw food do so “at their own peril.”
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