Foodstuff information - Meat and Poultry

Skin, bone, etc

Products made from meat and/or poultry may contain small bones, skin or parts of blood vessels. These are unsightly but rarely a health hazard as they are normal parts of the original animal. They may sometimes cause problems such as a chipped tooth and these are best dealt with by the individual – via the Civil Court if necessary.

  • Advised Action: Contact retailer/manufacturer
  • Risk: No public health risk

Note: It is very rare for prohibited parts of an animal e.g. genitals, eyes, eye-lids etc OR non-food animals e.g. cats and dogs to be used for human food. Meat such as chicken or lamb is easily available and relatively inexpensive so that the use of prohibited parts or species is not economic.

Chicken Red leg

A natural pigment held within the bone being released after cooking and taking on the appearance of meat not being correctly cooked causes red leg in cooked chicken. The chicken will be thoroughly cooked, but the temperature is not high enough to denature the pigment.

  • Advised Action: Ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, and the juices are running clear
  • Risk:  No public health risk

Oregon Disease or Deep Pectoral Myopathy

This is a condition of Turkeys and Chickens (Broilers). It is caused by a reduction in blood supply to the deep pectoral muscles. The lesion is apple green, which is retained on cooking. The colour is not noticed until the bird is carved after cooking.

  • Advised Action:  Contact the retailer or manufacturer
  • Risk:  It is unsightly, but there is no public health risk

Fruit and Vegetables

Stones, Soil and Slugs

Fruit and vegetables commonly have soil, stones or small slugs adhering to them. This is quite normal as they originate from soil.

  • Advised Action: Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating
  • Risk: No public health risk


Salad vegetables, especially lettuce may have greenfly attached. This is becoming more common as the use of pesticides decreases, but they are not harmful.

  • Advised Action: Wash all salad items thoroughly
  • Risk: No public health risk

Note: Mould growth will naturally occur when fruit and vegetables become bruised or damaged. This will be minimised if the buyer checks the produce before purchase and handles it carefully afterwards.

Mushroom Fibers/Hair

Sometimes we get complaints about hairs in food such as pizza, often these 'hairs' turn out to be mushroom fibers. The mushroom that we know is actually the fruiting body of the hidden mushroom plant. This plant is made up of microscopic filaments (hyphae) which combine to form strands called mycelium. The mycelium grows in the soil on wood and leaves, or in commercial mushroom farming, compost. The mushroom body first develops as a tiny ball on the mycelium and grows to a certain size before being picked to eat. Sometimes, strands of mycelium can remain with the mushroom during preparation and cooking. When cooked, the fibrous mycelium can look like a coarse hair.

  • Advised Action: Contact the retailer or manufacturer
  • Risk: No public health risk



Last Updated on Wednesday, April 10, 2024