It’s a bad time for all multi-national food giants in India. Latest in the safety concerns are the food samples from Kentucky Fried Chicken, which were allegedly found to contain E. coli and Salmonella bacteria, which causes acute food poisoning. Five samples from from five outlets of KFC were found to contain the harmful pathogens, in a test conducted in the Telangana State Food Laboratory, on the bidding of an NGO Balala Hakula Sangham, an advocacy group for child rights.
The findings come on a time heated up by the recalling of Nestle’s ready to cook noodle packs, and Starbucks’ withdrawal of several of their flavoring elements. However, KFC refuted the findings, as their spokesperson called it a ‘false allegation’ and an ‘attempt to wrongly malign’ the US based food chain’s brand reputation.
“We have no knowledge of the sample being collected from any of our stores and in what condition it has been transported for this alleged test. This is a perishable food item meant for immediate consumption,” said KFC in a statement.
E. coli thrives in meat not cooked upto 71 degree Celsius. The US department of agriculture recommends poultry products be heated to 74 degree Celsius to prevent a salmonella infection. KFC has said there was “no possibility of any microbial development” in its food because it is cooked at 170 degrees Celsius.
After testing the samples received in a “sealed and labeled cardboard box kept in brown color paper,” the lab concluded in a report, dated 24 June, that the “dark brown colored fried food pieces” were unsafe for consumption.“I am of the opinion that the sample contains E. coli and salmonella which are pathogens and injurious to health,” food analyst AV Krishna Kumari concluded. “It is, therefore, unsafe.”
The company said, on Thursday, that it hasn’t yet received any intimation from the authorities and would certainly seek clarifications from them. Anuradha Rao, the President of Balal Hakula Sangham said that, the children don’t know what is good for their health and they regularly get the popular food products tested in the interests of child rights. The organization had earlier got milk, Lays potato chips and Maggi tested by the state food laboratory.