Tap to Read ➤

Dangers of Eating Undercooked Chicken

Renuka Savant Feb 15, 2019
Feeling queasy in the stomach for some reason and you can't quite figure out the culprit? The reasons could be several, of course, and one of them could be the undercooked chicken in your plate. Here's more on that.
As people are getting more health conscious, they have begun to prefer white meat over red meat, considering the health risks associated with the latter. While chicken is thought by many to be a safe option, there are a few things you need to look out for when you plan your next chicken meal.
We are all too familiar with the dangers associated with eating stale meat. We always go to great lengths to ensure that the chicken we eat is thoroughly clean and fresh at the time of consumption.
But even if you aren't a novice in the cooking department, you may not be completely aware of the risks of eating undercooked chicken. What's more, it isn't easy for everyone to discern between chicken that is well-cooked or otherwise, especially for those who like their meat to be done rare.
  • The first obvious sign of undercooked chicken that one tends to think of is the pink color of the meat. This may indicate rawness but smoked chicken also takes the same shade and it is extremely safe to consume that.
  • With frozen chicken, the part that is closest to the bone, sometimes, stays raw even after it has been cooked in the microwave for a considerable amount of time. Mind you, this may happen even if the chicken has been defrosted properly.

Risks of Eating Undercooked Chicken

Raw chicken is susceptible to contamination due to bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter or Staphylococcus aureus. The presence of these may lead to food poisoning, which, in extreme cases, may even be fatal. The Staphylococcus aureus strain in particular, is resistant to certain varieties of antibiotics, which also include penicillin.
  • Common symptoms of eating undercooked chicken include stomach cramps, nausea, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, which are usually the milder symptoms of food poisoning, lasting for no more than a couple of days.
  • While problems caused by Salmonella manifest within two days, those caused by Campylobacter may at times, stay dormant for as long as 8 to 10 days.
  • Diarrhea caused by Campylobacter may be bloody, whereas diarrhea brought on by Salmonella may be watery.
  • The presence of Campylobacter may cause temporary paralysis. Known as the Guillain-Barre syndrome, this is marked by a tingling feeling that begins from your feet, moving upwards to cover the entire body.
  • At times, the Salmonella typhi bacteria may be passed on by human handlers to the chicken, and consuming this infected chicken will cause typhoid fever. Although the occurrence is comparatively rare, symptoms of typhoid are very high fever accompanied with stomach pain, weakness and rashes.
  • When the Salmonella bacterium spreads to other parts of the body via the bloodstream, it may cause osteomyelitis (bone infection), pericarditis (infection of the sacs surrounding your heart), hepatitis, meningitis or pneumonia. This condition is termed Bacteremia.

Precautions to be Taken

So, you ate undercooked chicken. Is it reason enough to launch a panic attack? Well, in most cases, the symptoms do not cross the dangerous level. With appropriate medication, they disappear within a few days. With chicken, though, one can never be too safe. Just follow these simple tips to avoid the effects of eating undercooked chicken.
  • Firstly, ensure uniformity in cooking. The ideal temperature for cooking chicken varies as per quantity and portion size.
  • Instructions on packaged foods must be followed as they are, more so, if you are an inexperienced cook.
  • Be careful with chicken nuggets, people generally tend to pop in these bits directly without checking if they are thoroughly cooked.
The funny thing about chicken is that it's simple to cook and dangerous if it's undercooked. Although there are several who would vouch for the benefits of organic chicken, the key to avoiding infections lies in how you cook it. As long as you ensure the chicken on your plate is well-cooked, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying your delicious meal.