Is Your Chicken Safe to Eat?


The Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) of the CDC examined restaurant chicken preparation and cooking practices and kitchen managers’ food safety knowledge concerning chicken.

Many restaurants were not following FDA Food Code to prevent cross-contamination and ensure proper cooking. Managers often lacked basic food safety knowledge about chicken preparation.

  1. 40% of managers said that they never, rarely, or only sometimes use designated certain cutting boards for chicken.
  2. 1/3 of managers said that they did not wash and rinse preparation surfaces before sanitizing them.
  3. >50% of managers said that thermometers were not used to determine the final cook temperature of chicken.
  4. Only 43% of managers knew the temperature to which raw chicken needed to be cooked for it to be safe to eat.

The authors conclude, “Restaurant chicken preparation and cooking practices and manager food safety knowledge need improvement.”

Proper handling and cooking of chicken includes:

  1. Use a clean contact surface for washing, rinsing and sanitizing.
  2. Minimize bare hand contact with raw chicken.
  3. Separate raw chicken from other foods.
  4. Cook raw chicken to 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds.
  5. Final cook temperatures should be measured with a thermometer.

Now you know what nearly 40% of restaurant managers didn’t know.

Scary don’t you think?


Author: Dr. Harlan Stueven, MD

Harlan Stueven M.D. is a Board-Certified Emergency physician with sub-specialization in Environmental Toxicology and Board Certification in Medical Toxicology. Starting his career in the USAF, he served as a Flight Surgeon and Environmental Health Consultant Physician where one of his duties was monitoring food safety. In his nearly 40-year practice, he treated a range of medical, surgical and poisoning emergencies. He has been a Medical Director and/or Chairman of several hospital-based Emergency Medicine Departments, served as the President of Emergency and Environmental Medicine consulting group, a physician group Chief Financial Officer and sat on many national, state and local committees. Dr. Stueven founded Dining Grades and the Dining Safety Alliance to improve food safety by increasing awareness of food borne illness and the formation of partnerships within the food industry. He is a consultant to the Wisconsin Retail Food Establishment Grading Work Group; a Co-investigator in a CDC funded “Evaluation of Health Department Restaurant Inspection Programs” project. He has presented at several National, State and Regional conferences on restaurant grading and food safety. He is an accomplished leader, medical researcher, a champion of process improvement, author, and national and international speaker.

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