People around the world consume fish and beef in raw form. Sushi, fresh oysters, beef tartare are some of the dishes in which raw protein is served as the final product. In fact, people in Japan are known to enjoy chicken sashimi, which again is a dish in which raw protein is served.
Then why is everyone still advising against eating raw chicken, when it is all right to eat fish and beef in natural form?
Here is what the professionals have to say.
Many researchers at the Department of Food Science of the Penn State University consider consuming raw chicken to be a dangerous thing and strictly advise against it. This is because they are very well aware of the presence of pathogens in extremely high numbers in raw chicken.
The main reason for this difference in microbial load among these three varieties of raw meats is the difference in their meat structures. The edible part of fresh beef and fish usually comes from the whole-muscles that prevents it from getting exposed to surface contamination.
Sometimes, these cuts can be treated with lactic acid, hot water, and other liquids on the surface to lower its microbial load. Anyhow, consuming raw beef and seafood is risky too, as even a small number of salmonella cells present in the raw meats can trigger food poisoning.
According to an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chicken is the number one vehicle to cause any kind of food associated outbreak or illness. And, as high as 20% of the packaged raw chicken that is sold in the US tests positive for the presence of salmonella in it.
Coming back to the Japanese sashimi preparation; on deeper research, it has been found that the chicken used in sashimi is of a specific breed called shamo. These chicken are fed a very special diet, which includes wasabi leaves. These leaves work as a natural antiseptic and can even help to kill salmonella.
So, it is wise to give the raw chicken a pass even if it is sourced from a wholesome and cage-free backyard chicken. This is because its biology is quite different from that of raw beef and raw fish.