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Other forms of poultry are regarded as undercooked at the slightest sign of pink juices and yet it is common practice to cook duck so that it's medium rare. Is the risk of food poisoning significantly lower with duck meat than other birds?

On the other hand, if we could be sure that a piece of chicken could was salmonella-free, would its texture and flavor be improved by not overcooking it? I expect the sight of pink would put most people off but if one could overcome that, could it actually taste better?

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I personally dislike the texture of under-cooked chicken and I don't think it tastes better. –  Preston Fitzgerald Jun 11 '14 at 7:03

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Rare duck meat is safe to eat because it does NOT contain the same risk of Salmonella as does chicken meat.

Primarily because ducks, as mentioned above, have not traditionally been raised in the same squalid conditions as "factory raised" chickens - salmonella is a disease that is primarily transmitted through dirt/dirty unclean conditions.

Now, on the other hand, as more and more ducks are being raised in industrial conditions, they are also becoming more likely to contain strains of Salmonella.

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How can you be sure of the conditions of manufacture for any meat you purchase? Is it worth the risk? –  zanlok Dec 14 '10 at 16:48
"Bucolic - Adjective - Of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life" -- is that the word you intended to use? –  slim May 1 '13 at 10:17
Edited the answer. Cooking my duck breast a bit longer this evening :) –  Mena Jun 10 '14 at 20:35

Yes, rare duck breast is safe and the risk is significantly lower, not least because ducks are not factory farmed in the same squalid and obscene conditions that chickens are.

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If you thought the broiler chicken industry "squalid" then you are in for one big shock when you find out about the commercial duck industry! Sorry but ponds with ducks waddling around is only for the very few free-range ones. huge dark sheds with only water from nipple-drinkers, eye infections and misery is the norm for commercially reared ducks, so less likely to get salmonella? I really don't think so.

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This is very interesting if true; can you point to a source or are you speaking from experience (and if so, what experience exactly)? –  Aaronut Dec 8 '10 at 15:50
Can't say I trust rare anything, as a rule. A credible source would be nice, though. –  zanlok Dec 14 '10 at 16:46
bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19617232 "Duck rearing conditions 'getting worse' says RSPCA" –  slim May 1 '13 at 10:19

They don't give reasons, but USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) do say that duck meat can remain pink, so long as it has reached an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C) throughout. The same temperature requirement is given for chicken, but with the added note that for cosmetic reasons, people usually cook chicken more.

They also indicate that chicken is susceptible to a wider range of harmful bacteria than duck.

Duck and Goose Info

Chicken Info

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All birds (and reptiles, for that matter) naturally have salmonella in their digestive tract. I'm assuming that the amount must be significantly lower in ducks, or possibly the fact that ducks are "waterproof" may be part of it. If the salmonella-containing dung cannot cling to them as well as it can to chickens maybe less is transferred to the meat after processing?

Just my hypothesis, anyway.

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