Chicken Sashimi and the Dangers of Food Illness

Believe it or not, some restaurants in the U.S. are now offering chicken sashimi, sushi and tartar (raw chicken dishes). Chicken sashimi is more widely offered in Japan though, especially in hubs such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo.

Some chef’s have stated that ‘if birds have been free range, kept in quality conditions, and processed in a clean environment, there’s not so much to worry about‘; but this is not the case. All raw chicken is unsafe to eat, regardless of the conditions that the birds have been kept in.

Chicken sashimi is often prepared by boiling or searing chicken for no more than 10 seconds, “which is an insufficient treatment to kill harmful microbes such as campylobacter and salmonella … on raw poultry,” says the Food Microbiology Department at the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety.

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Chicken is Only Safe When Cooked to 165˚F

Raw chicken is not safe to eat and will lead to food illness or poisoning. According to the USDA, all poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings, ground poultry, and stuffing) should always be cooked thoroughly to 165˚F.

Use a food thermometer to make sure chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Also, cut into the thickest part of the meat and ensure that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.

Raw Chicken Food Illness Risk

The CDC estimates that every year about a million people get sick from eating poultry that’s contaminated with harmful germs.That’s why it’s important for you to take steps to protect your health and the health of your loved ones when it comes to chicken.

Consuming raw chicken and poultry may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter. Washing chicken and other poultry does not remove bacteria. You can kill these bacteria only by cooking chicken to the proper temperature.

Food Illness Symptoms

The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning often come on quickly, usually within 8 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food or water.

Symptoms may be aggressive and can last for up to 48 hours. Typical symptoms during this acute stage include:

  • abdominal pain, cramping, or tenderness
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • signs of dehydration (such as decreased or dark-colored urine, dry mouth, and low energy)
  • bloody stool

In some cases, foodborne illness can lead to serious conditions.

Should you call the doctor?

Anyone can get food poisoning, but children younger than 5 years of age, adults aged 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are more likely to develop a serious illness.

Call or see the doctor if you or someone in your care has the following signs of food poisoning:

  • High fever (temperature more than 101.5°F)
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody stools
  • Prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Making very little urine
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Dizziness when standing up