Why Can’t We Eat Raw Chicken?

If you ask your officemates what they’d like for your daily lunch delivery in Philadelphia, chances are high that at least one person will suggest sushi, the Japanese seafood dish traditionally served raw on rice. If you attend a fancy party or celebration, raw tartare or caviar might be on the menu. And when you ask most people how they like their steak done, they’ll claim that cooking the meat to a well-done brown ruins the flavor.

Americans regularly consume meat, seafood, and fish raw. If you’ve recently had one of these dishes yourself, you might be wondering: why is it considered okay to consume almost every type of meat raw except chicken?

The reason why eating raw chicken is risky is due to the high chance of salmonella poisoning. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that often flourishes in the intestines of chickens. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, which is why it’s almost impossible to detect in meat until after you’ve consumed it and gotten sick. Eating raw chicken that contains salmonella can result in an illness called “salmonellosis.” Some of the side effects of salmonellosis include an upset stomach, fever, cramping, and diarrhea. Cooking your chicken to an internal temperature of about 165 degrees Fahrenheit kills off salmonella bacteria and makes your chicken safe to eat.

Though eating raw beef or seafood isn’t without risk, you’re much less likely to contract salmonellosis from a medium-rare cut of steak than you are from a chicken breast. This is because the muscle structure of beef or seafood doesn’t make as good of a breeding ground for infectious bacteria as the cuts of chicken we commonly consume. The surface of beef or seafood can also commonly be treated with lactic acid or a very hot water bath to reduce the risk of illness.

Food science can be fun and interesting — but sometimes, it’s easier to let the professionals handle food preparation for you. Are you looking for a break from the kitchen? Village Catering is now offering family meals to go in Philadelphia! Give our team a call today to learn more or schedule your appointment for delivery!