A Queensland native recently took to Facebook to share his “upsetting experience” after eating a raw chicken burger from a McDonald’s in Upper Coomera, Queensland.
Joseph Kim had eaten half of the burger by the time he realised something was wrong. “I didn’t taste anything at first but I felt something soft and tender in my mouth,” Kim reported.
“At about half way [sic] through the burger, I glanced at the inside of the burger and saw chicken patty and became in absolute shock! The chicken patty was well and truly undercooked! It looked RAW!!!"
According to Kim, he quickly contacted his daughter to warn the rest of his family, who had also ordered meals, and learned that his wife’s chicken burger was even more undercooked than his.
“Fortunately my wife hadn’t had one bite,” said Kim. “I got so upset because not only I couldn’t eat a proper burger and/or waste money [sic] but this could have caused critical condition or at worst, death to my whole family.”
In the post, Kim referred to the risk of Salmonella infection, which can be contracted by eating undercooked chicken or other poultry products.
Salmonella in undercooked chicken
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal infections (called salmonellosis) in the developed world.
Salmonella is commonly found in:
- raw or undercooked eggs
- raw or undercooked meat / poultry
- other foods that are high in protein (e.g. fish, milk, custard, mayonnaise)
When a person eats food that is contaminated with a high number of Salmonella bacteria, they can get very ill.
The severity of symptoms depends on how many bacteria are ingested as well as the age and general health of the person that ingested them. Vulnerable groups — such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised people — are both more likely to contract salmonellosis and more likely to experience severe or even life-threatening symptoms.
But Salmonella isn’t the only bacteria that can be found in undercooked poultry products; we imagine Kim would be unhappy to learn that raw chicken is often host to other dangerous bacteria, such as:
- Clostridium perfringens
- Staphylococcus aureus
- E. coli
High-risk foods like chicken must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 75°C (or higher) for at least two to three minutes to destroy harmful bacteria and prevent food-borne illness.
“Horrific” company response
After speaking to an assistant manager at the McDonald’s from which his family ordered the undercooked chicken burgers, Kim was unimpressed with the company’s official response and what he believes to be insufficient action.
“I had to stop work,” stated Kim, “then I went to Maccas and talked to a manager. I brought the rest of the burger, explained and showed what happened. Do you know what the manager said first? ‘Okay’! I straight away replied. ‘No, it’s not OK!’.”
After giving personal details about himself and the nature of his complaint, Kim alleges that he was not given contact information or instructions about how to follow up on his complaint, and has not received a formal apology or satisfactory action from the fast food giant.
“Making [excuses] and blaming your 'new' staff for such a dangerous issue is not good enough,” Kim said, addressing McDonald's directly. “Treating a customer's complaint lightly is not good enough. Putting your valued customers at risk of infections or potentially [a] more serious outcome is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”
A McDonald’s spokesperson told the Gold Coast Bulletin that an investigation into the incident is underway at the restaurant in question; as yet, there have been no updates about the status of the investigation.
At the time of writing, Kim’s post has received over 600 reactions, dozens of comments and has been shared 604 times.
“Think twice about going to Upper Coomera McDonald's,” warned Kim.