Australian KFC staff tell of food fights, poor hygiene

For years, no matter where I lived, there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food restaurant nearby – what’s now called KFC — and the scent of special herbs and spices was in the air and in my clothing.

I’d eat the stuff once a year, and immediately regret the indulgence.

There’s a tragic case involving a KFC that is being heard by the Australian Supreme Court involving 11-year-old Monika Samaan, who is suing KFC, claiming the source of her salmonella poisoning was a Twister her father said he bought at the outlet on October 24, 2005.

In testimony today, three former staff at KFC Villawood, near Sydney said they would drop chicken pieces on the floor, help themselves to food and throw chicken strips at each other as ‘pranks.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports KFC has denied responsibility for Samaan’s illness, which has left her with severe brain damage and quadriplegia.

Hatem Alhindawiq, 20, who began working at the Villawood branch in September 2005, told the court that a few weeks after he started there he and his friends would lock each other in the cool room and ”maybe chuck chips … at each other, that kind of stuff”.

They would also throw chicken nuggets and chicken strips and ”muck around, slap each other and run away, all that sort of stuff”, he said, adding that chicken strips were ”the easiest to chuck”.

Mr Alhindawiq said he saw a friend who was a cook at the outlet accidentally drop a piece of chicken as he was unloading the deep fry basket. It fell onto a ”breading table” where chicken is floured before being cooked, and then onto the floor. ”He was like, ‘Oh, don’t worry’ … look, it’s only flour,’ and he grabbed it and he chucked it back in.”

Danielle Cabassi, 19, who worked at the branch for two years from 2005, said she often saw the cooks fail to wash their hands between working with raw chicken and removing cooked chicken from the fryer. They would use tongs, but there was still blood on their hands, the interior student said.