Is Chicken Sashimi Safe to Eat? (Hint: It’s Raw Chicken)
Two words that will (or should) strike fear into the heart and gut of anyone who has ever suffered the effects of food poisoning: chicken sashimi.
Apparently a thing in Japan — where it is known as torisashi — and available at a handful of culinarily adventurous American restaurants, chicken sashimi is pretty much what it sounds like: raw chicken. Thinly sliced inner-breast meat (often sourced from small, local farms, in hopes of ensuring freshness) is boiled or seared for about 10 seconds and served, often quite prettily, on a platter.
Except it’s raw chicken!
The Internet has registered a collective “eeeew!” over the idea of eating raw chicken, no matter how pleasantly named and attractively prepared and presented. I mean … salmonella, right?
And also just…gross.
“Ew is right!” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, contributor to Healthy Eats and author of The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. The 10 seconds chicken sashimi is cooked isn’t enough to destroy any pathogenic microorganisms, such as campylobacter and salmonella, potentially present in the meat, she warns.
“These microorganisms can cause a healthy adult to become pretty sick, which makes it even more risky for those with a compromised immune system such as kids, pregnant and lactating women, and older adults,” Amidor notes.
Even restaurants with HACCP systems in place to ensure food safety are not in the clear when it comes to serving raw chicken, since chickens may contract microorganisms on the farms in which they are raised.
“Small or larger-sized farms, free-range or caged, it doesn’t matter,” says Amidor. “Microorganisms are tough to control on a farm with soil and other animals coming and going.”
Your best defense against getting sick from chicken? Avoid pathogenic microorganisms by avoiding cross-contamination during food prep and cooking chicken to its proper internal temperature – 165 degrees Fahrenheit – Amidor advises.
Which means steer clear of the chicken sashimi. I know, so disappointing…