Chicken sashimi, also sometimes referred to as chicken tartare, is very popular in Japan and recently has started to become more visible here in the UK. While the advice for cooking chicken has always been to ensure that it is cooked through until juices run clear. Those who are spearheading chicken sashimi say that if the birds have been kept free range in quality conditions, and processed in a clean environment, then there’s not much to worry about. We asked Mike Williams, director of leading UK food safety consultancy STS, if this was the case:
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) released a rather simple and bold statement regarding chicken sashimi. The statement said “we are reiterating our advice not to eat raw chicken”. Sometimes the simplest advice is the best – and that is definitely the case here.
“Serving raw or lightly cooked chicken really does present risks of food poisoning and should be avoided at all costs. Unlike beef or lamb where bacteria are generally only found on the external surfaces, chicken may contain bacteria throughout the meat. Therefore searing or lightly cooking chicken is simply not enough to kill food-poisoning bacteria such as salmonella or campylobacter.
“Undercooked chicken is nothing new and there have been some high profile cases where enforcement action has been taken against food business operators who serve products such as lightly cooked (or pink) chicken liver pate. Chicken sashimi will no doubt be on the radar for enforcement agencies and we would strongly recommend that food businesses do not include it on any of their menus.
“Following the advice given by the FSA, our recommendation continues to be that chicken should always be cooked through to a core temperature of 75°C.
“Chicken sashimi originated in Japan and it is worth noting here that the Japanese authorities are also advising against serving it due to food safety concerns. Importing food and recipes from around the world is brilliant and has improved cuisine in the UK beyond recognition. However, some ideas are best left where they started”