Why You Should Never Order Raw Chicken Dishes At Restaurants

Chicken is commonly enjoyed fried, baked, and grilled, but if you consider yourself the adventurous type, you might be thinking of adding raw chicken to your poultry dish options. Chicken, when cooked, is a healthy and easily accessible way to add high-quality protein to your diet (per WebMD). In fact, chicken is the most eaten meat in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Foodies and chicken lovers may be interested in trying torisashi, a dish that Japan-guide.com explains is a type of sashimi (raw fish or meat) made with chicken that is commonly consumed in Kagoshima, Japan. The chicken is sliced into strips that are kept raw and served alongside ginger and soy sauce. In recent years, torisashi has made its way across the Pacific and onto the menus of a handful of restaurants in the U.S., as reported by Food & Wine.

Though chicken is generally safe and nutritious, experts warn against partaking in the torisashi trend or consuming other dishes containing uncooked chicken (via CDC).

Eating raw chicken might send you to the hospital

Raw or barely cooked chicken has no place in your restaurant order, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chicken that hasn't been thoroughly cooked may be contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. In fact, an estimated 1 million Americans become ill each year from contaminated poultry, making chicken among the biggest causes of food poisoning in the U.S.

Food poisoning from ingredients like raw chicken can be especially dangerous for certain populations. Kristin Kirkpatrick, licensed dietitian, told Healthline that very young children, older adults, and pregnant women may require hospitalization if suffering from a foodborne illness. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience serious complications related to food poisoning, explains a second dietician, Mia DiGeronimo, via Cleveland Clinic. In the most severe cases, food poisoning can be fatal (per Healthline).

It's also worth noting that, despite being a traditional food item in Japan, officials have cautioned against eating raw chicken in the Land of the Rising Sun, as noted in a 2019 article published in Food Safety.

Additionally, chicken dishes that aren't listed as raw or uncooked on a restaurant menu can still be dangerously undercooked. Whether you're in the U.S. or abroad, the CDC suggests sending back any chicken that appears undercooked. Signs of undercooked chicken include red or pink juices and a tough texture that feels similar to the skin located below your thumb (via EatingWell).