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So last night I was cooking dinner for a friend, not at my house, and they don't own an instant read thermometer. I put the chicken breasts (boneless with skin on and wing attached from a local farm) into a preheated 375 degree oven. After 45 minutes I checked them and they looked done but the juices we're still a bit cloudy, but not any pink. I decided to be on the safe side and put them in for another 15 minutes.

Afterwards when I checked them again and then cut them into pieces I used the same utensils I'd used to check them the first time.

What are the chances of someone getting sick from this? I'm assuming very low, but she has a 1 year old that ate a couple bites of it as well. I'm usually very careful around chicken but I wasn't thinking.

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The chances are very low that anyone would get sick from that because the chicken was probably already safe when you first checked it. Although the recommendation is to cook until the chicken is 160F, anything above 140F will start to kill salmonella pretty quickly, with 4 minutes at 145F being enough to kill it off. A handy table from this page gives good info:

Min Internal Temp °F 6.5 log lethality 7.0 log lethality

    130°F                  112 min             121 min
    135°F                  36 min              37 min
    140°F                  12 min              12 min
    145°F                  4 min               4 min
    150°F                  67 seconds          72 seconds

6.5 log means 99.99997% is killed 7.0 log means 99.99999999% is killed. At 160F the 7.0 log time is 4 seconds, which is why there's a recommendation to cook to that temperature.

From your description it sounds like your chicken was close to being done but not quite done, so you erred on the side of caution and cooked longer, it was probably above 150F, so the salmonella should have been dead.

But, just because you got away with it this time doesn't mean you should make a habit of it! As someone who has experienced the great fun that salmonella poisoning is I would encourage people to wash their utensils if there's ever any possibility that they've come into contact with undercooked chicken (or seafood for that matter, not salmonella but just as bad or worse).

  • This was great, thank you. I'm usually very careful, almost neurotic, about food poisoning (after having E.Coli) but I just wasn't paying attention this time. I actually woke up in the middle of the night in a panic after this day. Thankfully, nobody has been sick yet, so I'm pretty sure we're in the clear now. – JohnConnor Mar 1 '17 at 20:25
  • I'm sure you're fine. Being careful is good. – GdD Mar 4 '17 at 17:32
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Well the chicken would need to be infected and that is a very small transfer. But according to this the infective dose could be as small as 10-15 cells.

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