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Chicken sashimiiStock

Some people need to be told not to eat raw chicken

Tomasz Frymorgen

Chicken sashimi (AKA raw chicken, AKA a Japanese delicacy, AKA potential salmonella poisoning) is growing in popularity - so much so that the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a warning reminding people it’s not safe to eat the uncooked bird.

The dish has been served throughout Japan as a delicacy for years, but overseas popularity has recently been growing, with a number of US restaurants adding the dish to their menus. As a result, the #chickensashimi Instagram feed now numbers over 1,000 uploads.

Raw chicken Facebook postFacebook

Of course, not everyone has been impressed by the sight of people tucking into raw poultry.

But following news coverage of the food fad - and an endorsement by reality TV chef Marc Murphy - the FSA has felt the need to wade into the debate with the following statement:

“Raw chicken is not safe to eat – it could lead to food poisoning. Chicken should always be cooked thoroughly so that it is steaming hot all the way through before serving.

“To check, cut into the thickest part of the meat and ensure that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.

“Consuming raw chicken can lead to illness from campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. In some cases, these bugs can lead to serious conditions.”

While all that might sound a bit off-putting, chicken sashimi pales in comparison to some of the other risky delicacies around the world.

Like the African bullfrog.

Namibian BullfrogiStock

The amphibians, which can grow to the size of house cat, are served up whole in Namibia as a treat.

However, the frogs contain a poison that can cause kidney failure. Only mature specimens can be eaten, and even then they need to be cooked using special wood-lined pots capable of neutralising the toxins.

Back in Japan you can also find the puffer fish known as fugu.

Fugu fishiStock

The fish is prized for the distinctive taste and unique texture of its flesh, but its liver and ovaries contain toxins that are 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide.

Preparation of fugu is therefore considered an elite skill, and chefs must undergo a three-year apprenticeship culminating in a test that only one-third of applicants actually pass.

South Korea has its own offering for seafood adrenaline junkies.

San-nakji is a type of live octopus dish, with the tentacles still moving as they are chewed and swallowed.

Although the sea creature is killed before being served up, the complex nervous system of the octopus means that its tentacles continue to squirm even after being severed from the brain.

The danger with san-nakji is that the tentacle suckers continue to work, which can lead to choking if they attach themselves to the throat or mouth.

Closer to home, Sardinia’s offering is Casu Marzu, which literally translates as rotten/putrid cheese.

Casu MarzuGetty Images

The delicacy is a traditional sheep milk cheese but with a twist: live maggots are purposely introduced to the fermenting mass to help with the breakdown of fats.

The cheese is then eaten together with the live maggots. According to local folklore, casu marzu is thought to be an aphrodisiac. However, the cheese is banned by the European Union due to health concerns.

But for the most dangerous food of all, you need look no further than your own high street.

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That’s right, because globally, a poor diet - one that's high in salt and sugar, and low in fresh fruit and veg - is the biggest contributor to early death.

So the next time you’re popping down the take-away, have a think about what will sound better on your gravestone – “poisoned by a deadly blowfish,” or “slowly succumbed to 20-piece chicken and chips”?