Pink is pretty, but not when it comes to chicken. There is nothing worse than shoving a piece of chicken in your mouth only to realize your eating undercooked chicken.
Immediately you get your freak on, spit the chicken out of your mouth, sprint to the bathroom, and submerge your tongue in a cup filled with mouthwash. Sure, the minty sensation may make your tongue feel like it’s burning, but at least you saved yourself from food poisoning.
Or so you thought.
Sorry, but antiseptic mouthwash doesn’t destroy any type of foodborne pathogens.
Once you put that tiny morsel of undercooked chicken in your mouth; all you can do is wait it out to see what happens.
What’s the difference between raw chicken and undercooked chicken?
Raw chicken, along with its juices are usually contaminated with bacteria. This bacteria can cause a foodborne illness that will cause havoc on your body in the ways of fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
Undercooked chicken is chicken that hasn’t been fully cooked, which means parts are still raw. If that particular piece of chicken was infected with bacteria regardless if parts are cooked, you’re still going to get sick.
The undercooked chicken will look a shiny, rubbery, and a little jiggly; kinda-sorta like Jell-O®.
What happens if you took a bite of raw chicken?
Even if you took a small bite and spit it out immediately if that chicken was contaminated with salmonella, the odds are in your favor you’re going to get sick within 2 to 4 hours. Unfortunately, your food poisoning symptoms may be present for up to 24 hours.
If you eat raw chicken, unfortunately downing a bottle of syrup of ipecac or chugging a gallon of milk won’t stop what’s about to happen. Don’t worry, you’ll be throwing it all up soon enough, so there’s no reason to induce vomiting.
What happens when you eat undercooked chicken?
Pretty much the same as taking a bite of raw chicken, although, you probably won’t see any effects until 2 to 4 days later. At that time, you’ll probably forget all about the chicken and think it was the Chinese takeout you had the night before.
What happens if my chicken is a little pink; will it make me sick?
Although the USDA states as long as the internal temperature of your chicken is 165°F, it should be okay to eat. They also state the color of the chicken doesn’t necessarily indicate if it’s cooked. Always make sure the temperature is at it’s recommended minimum.
Superhero Tip: If you ate an entire chicken leg, and when you get down to the bone it looks a little red, don’t freak out. As long as the chicken was cooked to the proper internal temperature, you shouldn’t worry about that. You see, when the chicken is cooked, sometimes the marrow which turns a purplish color will leak out into the meat. This is perfectly normal.
Will I always get sick from eating undercooked chicken?
No. It all boils down if the chicken you ate was contaminated, and if it was stored properly when you brought it home from the grocery store.
Unfortunately, you’re not always going to know if you’re going to get sick eating that undercooked chicken until it’s too late. The best practice would be to always look at your chicken before shoving a huge piece in your mouth. If it looks pink, shiny, or raw, don’t eat it.
Not just that bite-full, but the entire piece of chicken.
How can I make sure my chicken is cooked thoroughly?
The quickest way to make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked is by using a food thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be at a minimum of 165°F. If you take its temperature and it’s 160°F, put it back in the oven or on the grill for another 5 to 7 minutes before testing the temperature again.
If you don’t own a food thermometer (You need to go out immediately and buy one. I have some great recommendations here, or you can check out my favorite and most loved food thermometer here), you can make a small cut into the thickest part of the chicken. If it looks the slightest bit pink, put it back in the oven or the grill for another 10 minutes.
Although your chicken may look cooked, there’s a possibility it’s not at its optimal internal temperature.
I’m a gambling fool, what are the odds I’ll get sick from eating undercooked chicken?
If your chicken was infected with salmonella, there’s a 100% chance you’ll be getting sick. If the chicken wasn’t infected, you won’t get sick.
The thing is, chickens don’t come with labels telling you if they’re sick or not.
Here’s a disturbing fact about raw chicken.
According to the Nationwide Microbiological Baseline Data Collection Program of Raw Chicken Parts (published in 2012 and it hasn’t been updated), the USDA accepts the fact salmonella may be on raw chicken.
Let’s just say after reading that publication, you may consider becoming a vegetarian.
Have you ever come close to eating undercooked chicken? Share in a comment.
Until we meet again
Recommended Reading: The Best 3 Ways To Make Sure Your Sausage Is Never Undercooked
Jell-O® is a registered tradmark of the Kraft Heinz Company