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I might have given my roommate food poisoning. Please advise.

To clarify, he's fine now. I just need to look into what I might have done wrong so I will know the proper handling of chicken in the future.

So I'm somewhat new to cooking. I decided to make this recipe.

It is a tasty lamb tagine. I substituted chicken instead of lamb. I made the recipe exactly as it states except with chicken (Including briefly browning the chicken before you put it into the base). According to the reviews many people did this with no problem.

I was unsure if you could just throw chicken into a soup raw(ish) so I looked it up on the web and found this which states that this practice is fine, even encouraged.

So here's the thing, I had two servings of this recipe when I made it. I had one serving the next morning and one the next afternoon. My roommate had one serving that night. Five hours later he was violently ill.
I am not sure I fully understand the basic tenets of chicken cooking, especially with soup bases/stocks. The following forum may shed some light as to my confusion. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/361577

It seems many people have different ideas about how chicken stock should be cooled after cooking.
I suspect that it wasn't the tagine. However, I feel that since I am now just starting actively cooking I should get some advice about the proper handling of chicken.

Thank you for any information you could offer.

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  1. I don't think it was the tagine that caused it. Or, perhaps he's allergic to an ingredient that you used without knowing it. But I would think if he got food poisoning, you would have at least been feeling somewhat queasy too.

    I made a somewhat similar recipe over the weekend. Not similar ingredients other than the chicken, but pretty much exactly the same process. It's a pretty common way to cook meats that way, and it definitely gets hot enough to kill off the bacteria or whatever.

    1 Reply
    1. re: juliejulez

      Thanks Julie. That's how it seems to me. I just want to make sure I wouldn't cause myself or others to get sick in the future.

    2. I don't think you gave your room mate food poisoning...there is a really bad virus going around. You ate the same thing he ate and you didn't get sick. He may have picked up a bug elsewhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        Thanks Cheryl. You might be onto something with the virus you mentioned.

      2. I too agree that I doubt you gave your roommate anything. As long as the chiken was cooked to 165F, I'm not sure it was the food unless an allergen trigger was present.

        With the ongoing flu outbreak all across the country and now the ramping up of Norovirus cases(stomach flue) which was mentioned on the news last week I'm guessing it was via a non-food source or at least not your cooking.

        I cook for myself at home 5 days a week and it's been years since I've done harm to myself or anyone eating my food. And while tidy I'm not a germ phobe or clean freak.

        Usually, with chicken, it's salmonilla cross-contamination, and that is alot of times given to the cook due to them being the one most in contact with the raw food and cooking utensils and plates prior to plating.

        Sick is never good, but keep cooking.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jjjrfoodie

          Thank you JJJ. That does shed some light on salmonella. Thanks for the advice!

          1. re: Snuffy

            I agree with the others. Not your fault. Carry on with your new venture in the world of cooking. Fear not from now on!

        2. Since you both ate the chicken and only one became ill, I doubt that the chicken was the problem. The flu or another bug is more likely.

          1. I agree with the others. I think you handled everything correctly and made nice meal that sounds delicious. I suspect an allergy or that bug that everyone seems to be getting lately.
            Btw, I think it's great that as a beginner, you're making dishes like a tagine. Please don't be discouraged by what was in all likelihood nothing you caused. I see this is your first post, so welcome! And feel free to bring your questions and cooking triumphs here :)

            1. It can take up to 3 days after exposure for food poisoning to manifest, so it's really hard to pin down the culprit, unless a lot of other folks got sick as well. I agree with others that norovirus is a strong suspect.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pikawicca

                "It can take up to 3 days after exposure for food poisoning to manifest"

                but I have also had food poisoning manifest in 2 hours. I'm not arguing with you, just two ends of the same scale.

                OP, the Noro Virus manifests symptoms that are almost identical to food poisoning. I have had both and the only difference is that my wife came down with it a day or so after I did. There's no way to really know what caused his illness without medical testing.

              2. Her're the official recommendations on chicken handling from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service:


                1. If it was cooked according to that recipe, and you ate it without ill effects, I would say the cooked food was safe. However, there might have been contamination from the raw chicken to something which was transmitted only to your roommate. Without knowing in detail exactly how the chicken and things which came into contact with it were handled (you probably don't even know), it is impossible to say.

                  The symptoms of food poisoning are different from the flue. If it feels like food poisoning, I would suspect food poisoning, even if I were not sure how it happened.

                  1. Maybe it was just the Norovirus? It's making its rounds ...

                    1. Probably a coincidence. It may not even have been food poisoning; if it was, it almost definitely wasn't from your chicken. A simmering liquid is, at bare minimum, 180 degrees Fahrenheit and probably higher. If the chicken was in the stew, and it reached a simmer for a few minutes, it would have reached temperature equilibrium with the liquid it was simmering in, meaning it would have hit that temperature throughout. That's much hotter than necessary to kill off any common food pathogens.

                      You have nothing to worry about. Tossing totally raw chicken chunks into a soup or stew, as long as it's brought to a simmer and stays there for a few minutes, is fine. (Browning them first like you did obviously makes it taste better, though.)

                      ETA: That said, I'm assuming you followed regular food safety practices -- washing your hands after handling raw chicken so you don't inadvertently contaminate utensils, and all that sort of thing. If you served your roommate food off the plate where you reserved the browned but not cooked through chicken, all bets are off.

                      1. Usually if someone gets ill like your room mate did if it was salmonella he'd be sick for a while not just once. That being said with raw chicken you must take extra extra special care not to 'cross-contaminate' things. You may be ticking along fine and without realizing you have a tiny bit of raw chicken on your cutting board and you set a spoon on it then the spoon is moved then sometime later you touch the spoon and deposit the salmonella onto the side of a plate and on and on. I use a separate cutting board for all things poultry. When I do anything with poultry I take on the mind set that I'm a surgeon working on a very contaminated body so I must be extra careful. Wash wash wash everything especially your hands often when cooking with any protein.