Campylobacter: UK pensioner died from undercooked chicken kiev

Microwaves are great for reheating but lousy for cooking because the heat is erratically dispersed throughout an uncooked, frozen meal like a chicken kiev. That’s why U.S. producers are required to include labels that clearly distinguish between raw frozen chicken thingies, and cooked frozen chicken thingies, and say check in multiple spots with a meat thermometer to ensure a safe temperature has been reached: the Brits probably say cook it until the juices run clear and it’s piping hot, which is nothing more than faith-based cooking.

chicken.kievUK pensioner Dorothy Flannagan died after contracting food poisoning from an undercooked chicken kiev.

The 86-year-old, who lived with her daughter Karen Kelly, had cooked the meal while Ms Kelly was on holiday in Egypt in July last year.

But the grandmother started to suffer from sickness and diarrhoea the following day.

Doctors believed Mrs Flannagan’s organs started to fail after she contracted campylobacter – the most common cause of food poisoning.

And the retired club secretary of Ryland Close, Lightwood, sadly died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on July 30.

During Mrs Flannagan’s inquest yesterday, her daughter, Beverley Turner, told the coroner’s court that she had a delivery of food from Tesco which included two packets of pre-packed chicken kiev.

Mrs Turner, of Caverswall, said: “She had lived with my sister for 18 years. She was self-caring. She didn’t need caring for but she had people staying with her while Karen was away.

“Nobody was with mum when she cooked her tea that night. She had previously cooked one in the microwave but I don’t know how she cooked it that night. She had already had the chicken kiev when we got there that night.”

A post mortem revealed Mrs Flannagan’s cause of death was acute kidney injury following campylobacter infection.

Self-reported and observed behavior of primary meal preparers and adolescents during preparation of frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products


British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929

Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820


Purpose – The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.

chicken.thingies.rawDesign/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior.

Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors.

Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.